“K” is for Kids!

Our schools and children who attend them are the most important assets in our community and should be our number one priority. From higher achieving students, to greater neighborhood safety, quality schools make a difference.  Because the majority of our schools remain outdated, we need your support.  On average, our school facilities are nearly 70 years old, with Matilija Middle School, our oldest property, nearly 100 years old.  

“Yes” on Measure K

Over the years, Ojai Unified School District has made major school improvements.  We’ve replaced all failing roofs, renovated outdated common areas, converted to more efficient lighting, improved site safety and security, replaced 50% of HVAC systems, and upgraded outdoor play spaces. However, our work is not done.

If approved, Measure K would continue our investment to our neighborhood schools, improving the quality of education, while also adding area construction jobs and stimulating the local economy. 

Measure K renovates outdated classrooms, restrooms and facilities including:

  • Updating inadequate electrical systems,
  • Repairing or replacing deteriorating plumbing, sewer and irrigation systems,
  • Improving student access to technology,
  • Making safety and security improvements,
  • Replacing 60-year-old energy-inefficient windows,
  • Constructing an aquatics center for school and community use.

Measure K protects taxpayers and makes financial sense by ensuring: 

  • All funds are spent locally and can’t be taken by the state.
  • Spending must be reviewed/annually audited by an independent citizens’ oversight committee.
  • Funds can only be spent to improve local schools, not for teacher or administrator salaries.
  • The first Measure K payment will not be collected for over two years, until the end of 2022.  
Old windows

Measure K upgrades and renovates old and inadequate classrooms, improves the education of local children, and maintains the quality of our community.  It’s a smart investment in our kids and Ojai.  That’s something we can all support. 

Please join us and VOTE YES ON MEASURE K FOR KIDS!

Frequently Asked Questions –
Measure K

Our school facilities must be improved.  Faced with aging classrooms and the need to bring school facilities up to current standards, the Ojai Unified School District has placed Measure K, a general obligation bond measure on the upcoming November 3, 2020 ballot.

The following information is provided to assist voters in understanding the facts behind Measure K and how its passage will affect the District and our community.

What is Measure K?

Measure K is a $45 million General Obligation (G.O.) bond program.  The measure is intended to address the needs of the student population through modernization and renovation projects at the District’s nine schools.

What is a General Obligation (G.O.) bond?

G.O. bonds fund projects such as the renovation of classrooms and school facilities, as well as construction of new schools and classrooms.  Similar to a home loan, G.O. bonds are typically repaid over 30 years. The loan repayment comes from a tax on all taxable property – residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial – located within the District’s boundaries.

Ceiling tiles at Matilija

Why did the District place Measure K on the ballot?

Our schools are outdated and major upgrades and renovations need to be made. Deferred maintenance over the years has recently improved with major construction and renovation projects.  Since 2014, the District has replaced all failing roofs, remodeled old/dated spaces, converted to LED lighting, improved site security, replaced 50% of HVAC, and improved outdoor play spaces. 

Our work is not done though.  Today, the average age of schools in the District is nearly 70 years with Matilija Middle School, one of our oldest, built in the 1920’s.  Additionally, we need to ensure that our schools offer the facilities necessary to support the technologies used in the curriculum of the 21st century. 

Why can’t the District meet its facilities needs with its current budget?

The per-pupil funding which the District receives from the state is intended to be used for the day-to-day business of educating children – predominantly for professional staffing of our classrooms – and not for major upgrades, renovations, and modernization projects.

How did the District come up with the project list for Measure K?

Over the last several months with input from staff, teachers, parents, and an architect, the District has prepared a School Facilities Needs Analysis.  The Needs Analysis identifies the major repairs and upgrades that need to be made. Specific projects identified include:

  • Updating inadequate electrical systems
  • Repairing or replacing deteriorating plumbing, sewer and irrigation systems
  • Improving student access to computers and modern technology
  • Making safety and security improvements
  • Replacing 60-year-old energy inefficient windows
  • Constructing a pool for school and community use

Has the District ever passed a school facilities improvement measure?

Pipes at Nordhoff

In 1997, the District passed a bond issue with 72.2% voter support and in 2014 District voters approved a $35 million bond measure with over 68% voter support.  Funds from these measures were used to repair and upgrade facilities throughout the District.  

What will happen if Measure K does not pass?

If Measure K does not pass, our classrooms and school facilities will continue to deteriorate.  In addition, funds that would otherwise be assigned to classroom instruction will be needed to make critical safety repairs and improvements at each school.  Major repairs will be postponed and, as a result, will be more expensive to complete at a later date.

What will Measure K cost?

The annual tax rate per property owner is estimated to be $27.00 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year, or less than $2.50 per month.  (Do not confuse assessed valuation with market value. Assessed valuations are the value placed on property by the County and are almost always lower than market values). Check your property tax statement for your current assessed valuation.  In addition, the bond is structured with COVID 19 in mind with the first payment not until the end of 2022, over two years from now.

Is now a good time to ask for a school improvement measure during the COVID 19 pandemic? 

Yes. Now is a great time for school districts to be borrowing money. Interest rates are at the lowest they’ve been in history, construction costs are dropping significantly, and our $45 million bond must be spent locally, which will act like a local economic stimulus plan.  School bond dollars, by law, must be spent in Ojai and cannot be taken by the state.  This will create local jobs for Ojai residents and local spending at our gas stations, hotels/motels, markets, restaurants, and other stores for the jobs that go to other Ventura County residents.  Furthermore, the Board mandated that instead of pursuing the max tax rate of $60.00 allowed under the law, Measure K’s tax rate will be $27.00, and the first payment for property owners on the bonds will not begin for over two years.

How can I be sure that Measure K funds will be spent on improving Ojai schools?

By law, all bond funds must be spent locally and cannot be taken by the state.  In addition, a local independent citizens’ oversight committee will be established to ensure that bond funds are properly spent.  Also by law, there must be annual audits of expenditures and no bond money can be used for teacher or administrative salaries. 

What about the Real Property the district already has? 

The district has two pieces of property that have been deemed surplus. One site (Summit) is now being used at a school and is at full enrollment. The second (the District Office property downtown) currently has an Exclusive Right to negotiate with a developer. 

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