Voters in the Long Beach Unified School District this week approved Measure E school bonds by a decisive 73.37 percent yes vote, providing $1.5 billion, and the possibility of hundreds of millions of dollars in state matching funds, to upgrade classrooms and other school facilities.
“What a great day for our students and schools. Our sincerest thanks go to our parents, teachers, administrators, support staff and many business and community supporters who made this huge victory possible,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said. “Thank you, voters, for choosing to invest in our schools. We appreciate the trust that you have placed in us. We will do everything we can to make the wisest use of these bonds for the benefit of our students. We plan to continue earning the confidence and trust that voters have expressed with this historic decision.”
With all precincts counted, Measure E garned 84,217 yes votes and 30,569 no votes. The 73.37 percent yes vote far surpasses the 55 percent threshold for approval.
Proceeds from the school bonds will be used for health and safety-related repairs such as electrical upgrades to add energy-efficient air conditioning systems. Science labs, computer labs and libraries will be upgraded. Deteriorating bathrooms and plumbing, leaky roofs and old wiring will be repaired. Outdated structures will be improved to meet handicap accessibility and earthquake standards. Fire alarms and security systems will be upgraded. Indoor and outdoor athletic facilities will be expanded and improved with features such as all-weather fields and new aquatics facilities.
Many local schools were built 60 to 70 years ago and need basic health and safety upgrades.
The passage of Measure E culminates many months of planning, with ample input from the community, including surveys and seven public meetings held at local high schools. The Board of Education decided in June to call for the bond election after approving an updated Facility Master Plan.
The recently updated Facility Master Plan includes a school-by-school project list. The school district will continue to communicate regularly with the local community regarding school facilities planning and progress.