Dealing with sinking school and no air conditioning, Maricopa Unified School District leaders ask voters to approve bond measure

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MARICOPA, Calif. (KGET) — Leaders with the Maricopa Unified School District are hoping the voters will approve a bond measure on the ballot for the 2020 Election.

If passed, the multimillion dollar bond would help the district fix several issues facing the property at the K-12 campus home to roughly 320 students (pre-COVID-19), according to MUSD Assistant Superintendent T. Jeffrey Cooley.

“The school was built in the 1950s. It now needs actual physical improvements,” said Cooley, noting the school needs modern-day air conditioning, something the district has never had.

“This is 1950’s. This is not up-to-date standards of air conditioning,” he said while pointing to water-cooler cooling apparatus in the classroom. The district, per Cooley, also needs to upgrade its emergency communications system and campus security.

Cooley also pointed out that parts of the school property are sinking into the ground due to the soft soil of the school terrain. Cracks are evident on the walls and pavement on some parts of the campus, and the sidewalk is physically separating from the school building, as well.

All of these issues, Cooley said, could be fixed if the voters who live in the district approve Measure F. The proposal calls for the district to issue up to $14.6 million in general obligation bonds with an estimated payoff of roughly 25-30 years, although Cooley noted the exact duration will remain unclear until he can move further into the bond selling process.

If passed, Cooley said the bond would result in an average annual property tax increase of roughly $50 per year, or $4.17 per month, for people who live in the district boundaries. To the west, the district border ends at the Santa Barbara County Line on Hwy 166, and close to I-5 on the east. Additionally, the southern portion includes parts of Pine Mountain Club, and the northern portion reaches one mile north of Maricopa proper. Cooley hopes the voters will approve.

“This school belongs to the community,” he said. “The community deserves to have the best, and our students deserve to have the best. By voting for the bond, it allows our students to have these enhancements, upgrades, and bring us in to the 21st century,” Cooley concluded.

KGET checked and there is no formal opposition to this bond measure. Michael Turnipseed with the Kern County Taxpayers Association confirmed this is the only local bond measure Kern Tax is supporting.

The bond needs at least 55% to pass. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 20 to count.

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