There will be no survey of voters this time around for Central Unified School District if trustees decide to take another shot at a bond measure.
The last survey, which was taken in the summer of 2019 long before the words “COVID-19” and “pandemic” were on everybody’s lips, had predicted healthy support for Central’s $120 million Measure C.
But the measure failed in the March primary by the barest of margins — losing by 19 votes that landed in the no column instead of the yes column, out of 14,861 votes cast.
The March primary was problematic for most bond measures across the state as well as the unfortunately named Proposition 13, a $15 billion statewide ballot measure for K-12 school, community college, and state university facilities.
Clovis Unified’s Measure A was defeated by an even wider margin than Central’s Measure C.
Fresno Unified’s Measure M, which passed by a healthy majority, was one of the few bond measure success stories in March.
New High School Needs Measure C Money
Measure C would have raised funds through taxes on property assessments to complete the new Justin Garza High School now under construction at Grantland and Ashlan avenues, and pay for other projects that included a new elementary school and repairs and improvements at existing schools.
For Justin Garza High to be a comprehensive high school, it will need the performing arts center, aquatics center, and other facilities that are included in the project’s second phase, superintendent Andy Alvarado told GV Wire this week.
Chances of Success in November?
But there was some concern among trustees at Tuesday’s board meeting over the changed economic climate due to COVID-19 as well as whether opponents who helped defeat the measure in the primary election would be emboldened by their success.
Given the district’s dismal track record in passing bond measures in primary elections, it’s either try again this November or wait until November 2024, the trustees were told.
Might a smaller bond measure be more palatable to voters? Alvarado said that’s something that the board will need to discuss, but “it’s definitely not off the table.”