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ELECTIONS / SANTA CLARITA SCHOOLS : Existing Bond Is Extended; Tax for Classrooms Loses


Voters in the Santa Clarita Valley on Tuesday were willing to keep paying property taxes on an existing school bond, but balked at a new tax to build elementary school classrooms.

A ballot proposal in the Sulphur Springs Union School District asked voters in the rapidly growing Canyon Country area to fund new classrooms by extending an existing general obligation bond instead of raising taxes.

Unofficial results showed the $20.2-million proposal, known as Measure CK, gaining the two-thirds vote required for passage.

With all 13 precincts reporting, the measure won more than 67% of the vote.

But a similar, $20-million bond measure that would raise property taxes in the Newhall School District to provide classrooms for elementary schoolchildren was defeated.

The ballot proposal, known as Measure C, had only garnered about 64% of the vote, with all 20 precincts reporting late Tuesday.

If Measure C had received the two-thirds vote required for passage, a property owner would have paid an extra $21.54 a year for a house assessed at $125,000, $44 more on a $250,000 house and $90 more on a $500,000 house.

Newhall district officials earlier this week said they would have to set up more portable classrooms on elementary school playgrounds if Measure C lost.

With about 4,600 students enrolled, the district's six schools are 700 students over capacity.

"If this bond measure doesn't pass, it means continued overcrowding," said Anne Hazlett, an assistant superintendent with the Newhall district.

It was the second time this year that voters in the Newhall School District quashed a school bond measure.

In February, voters in a Valencia neighborhood overwhelmingly rejected a $12-million bond measure that would have raised taxes as much as $925 annually to build an elementary school.

Voters in the Sulphur Springs Union School District, where Measure CK appeared to be winning, rejected a similar bond measure in November by 224 votes.

The elections were closely watched by neighboring William S. Hart Union High School District, which plans to put a bond measure to build two new schools before voters in November.

Hart trustees will decide next week on the amount of the proposed bond measure.

"This election will give us an idea about how voters feel about being taxed to pay for schools," Hart Supt. Clyde Smyth said. "If they are unsuccessful, it will make it that much more difficult for us, but we'll still go ahead because we need the schools."

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