The Pros & Cons of the Ocean Beach School District Bond
There’s no denying it. The April 26th vote for the Ocean Beach School District Bond is a Big Deal! It will impact hundreds of children, their families, faculty, volunteers, and everyone in the community on the Long Beach Peninsula. Due to the pandemic, it’s been a tough couple of years on the Peninsula, and now neighbors have an entirely new subject to argue over. To take a genuinely unbiased stance, I interviewed two people on both sides with “skin in the game,” and no one was willing to come out with their names in print. That’s a testament to the raw emotions felt on this issue and the fears surrounding it. Below are the pros and cons for each side of the Ocean Beach School District Bond.
Summary of the Bond
At the heart of the issue is the fact that the proposed $96 million bond would construct a new elementary school and replace and consolidate the existing elementary schools. The new school would be located outside of the tsunami inundation zone on the southern end of the Peninsula. It would also replace the current athletic field, track, and stadium, create a new transportation and maintenance facility, construct a new alternative and special education building, and create a new “field house” (gymnasium.)
Pros of the Bond
- The old elementary schools and many other school district buildings were constructed almost 100 years ago. Although they were refurbished at the turn of this century, they clearly need repair and are outdated compared to many other schools. It always feels better to spend your days in a building that you enjoy.
- Newer buildings are more ergonomic, energy-efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.
- The current elementary schools are in a Tsunami zone, and the new building would be outside of the Tsunami zone and earthquake-rated, meaning better safety for all occupants.
- The new schools will be able to accommodate many more students, making room for community growth in the years ahead.
- Having all the buildings close to each other will save on some resources, such as travel time for maintenance and equipment deliveries.
Cons of the Bond
- The bond would be funded with a property tax increase. The district estimates the tax increase to be approximately $0.86 per $1,000 of assessed value to an overall cost of $1,67 per $1,000 (about twice what it is now). The proposed bond would span 25 years. Many people feel that this is not the time to burden homeowners with more taxes, especially just coming out of the pandemic, which was financially devastating to many residents in the area.
- Having the elementary schools in the community they serve encourages neighborly relations. When you know the other parents are your neighbors, cooperation is essential.
- The current elementary schools would be sold, and there is some apprehension about who might buy the buildings and how they would be used.
- Students from the Ocean Park area would be on the bus for a more extended period, making kids more tired and creating extremely long days. Also, high schoolers would be riding the bus with first graders, and not all parents are comfortable with that.
- Some residents don’t feel the last $23 million bond from the early 2,000s was well managed, and now all those funds will be wasted when the buildings are abandoned.
There is a lot to consider on both sides, and we encourage you to ask questions, get involved, and go VOTE!