PITTSBURG -- The Pittsburg Unified School District may decide next week to place a $100 million bond measure on the November ballot to potentially replace aging portables with new permanent classrooms, revamp or rebuild some older campuses and build additional classrooms at Pittsburg High School.
The Pittsburg school board will host a special study session on the proposed bond measure 6 p.m. Monday and hold another special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to finalize the decision. To place the proposed bond measure on the upcoming ballot, the district must file with the Contra Costa County Elections Department by Aug. 8.
If favored by the board and approved by a 55 percent majority of district voters, the tax rate will not exceed $60 per $100,000 in assessed home value. Currently, the district's homeowners pay $139 per $100,000 assessed value this year for three previous bonds, according to Enrique Palacios, the district's deputy superintendent.
"This community is very generous and has always supported the school district," Palacios said. "We have a good relationship with voters and property owners because we do what we say we are going to do. "
Palacios noted that a March survey of local voters showed that 70 percent would support another bond measure. He added that district staff is proposing that the bond would fund a rebuild of 60-year-old Hillview Junior High School; a partial rebuild of Los Medanos Elementary School, including its 15 portables and old kindergarten classrooms; a new library, media center and multipurpose room for Willow Cove Elementary School; and up to 30 additional classrooms at Pittsburg High.
"It (Hillview) needs to be modernized or replaced for equal access to the curriculum and technology," board member Laura Canciamilla said.
Enrollment has steadily increased at Pittsburg High since 2009, and it is up by 19 percent, Palacios said. Districtwide, enrollment is up by 7 percent.
"The school district has not had that much new housing," Palacios said. "People are coming back and bringing the children back to our public schools. They are recognizing that we are doing a good job."
In 2004, the $40 million Measure E bond funded the modernization of Foothill Elementary and building of Rancho Medanos Junior High. Measure J was an $85 million bond that paid for the building of the new Pittsburg High and new continuation high school in 2006.
The district's most recent bond was the $100 million Measure L in 2010, which is paying for another junior high school, a new Heights Elementary School, which will be finished before school resumes this year, and a new Parkside Elementary School in a few years.
"You have to be careful not to overload your community," Canciamilla said. "We want to be responsible. We want to be purposeful about this and respectful to the community."
Palacios said that past bond measures were $40 per $100,000 in assessed value, but market conditions and assessed valuations will determine what the exact tax burden will be on any new bond. If the measure is placed on the ballot and approved by voters, homeowners and property owners could pay up to $240 per $100,000 in assessed value, he said.
"The tax burden on the property owners is not realized until we go and sell bonds," Palacios said. "They don't get taxed for the entire amount immediately. The tax burden is incremental."
Next week's meetings will allow the board to prioritize facility needs and gauge the ultimate need for a future bond, Canciamilla noted.
"Our district is growing in a positive way," board member Joe Arenivar said. "The bond money may be the only way to handle this growth."
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174.
The Pittsburg Unified School District board will host special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss placing a bond measure on the November ballot. Another meeting on this topic will follow at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Both will be held at the district office, 2000 Railroad Ave.