All three San Gabriel Valley measures to fund school improvements and new construction sailed to easy victory Tuesday, capturing more than the two-thirds votes needed for approval.
District officials in San Marino, Pomona and Walnut credit their success to campaigns that informed the community about steep budget deficits and the need for local residents to support their public schools.
In the Pomona Unified School District, where voters have not approved a bond measure since 1965, Proposition E, which sets aside $62.5 million for new schools and renovations, collected 74.7% of the 8,643 votes cast.
Voter turnout in Pomona was 18%, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, which conducted the election.
"The staff worked hard to get the message out to parents that the schools were needed and the refurbishments were needed, and it really wasn't going to be very expensive," said Pomona spokeswoman Nancy York.
The measure assesses homeowners $25 for each $100,000 in assessed valuation for 25 years. Proceeds will go toward renovating existing schools and helping build five new ones, including a high school in the Diamond Bar area.
Pomona Unified has 25,719 students in Pomona and parts of Diamond Bar.
Although voter turnout averaged only 19.6% for local elections handled by the county registrar, turnout was much higher in San Marino Unified, where 41.4% of registered voters went to the polls.
San Marino voters approved Proposition F by an overwhelming 83.1%. The land parcel tax of $100 per lot for four years is expected to generate more than $500,000 annually.
"We're really pleased that the community rallied behind us," said Gary Richards, San Marino Unified superintendent. "I think people recognize that, given the state's financial picture, we need to look at generating some financial support locally."
In both 1985 and 1986, parcel taxes failed in San Marino. With the passage of Prop. F, the district will be able to bring 10 now-closed classrooms at Huntington Middle School up to earthquake safety standards, officials said.
The district, which has 2,720 students, also will be able to restore cuts in some academic programs. San Marino faces a minimum $200,000 shortfall in its $10-million budget this year and has made tentative cuts in drama, industrial arts, French and Latin programs. The school board will decide which programs will be restored.
But other cuts may remain. "One of the things we've said all along is that this is not going to be a panacea," Richards said. "We've cut an assistant principal and the dance program, and I don't see those being restored."
In Walnut Unified, 74.6% of the 5,075 voters who went to the polls gave thumbs up to Proposition H, which sets aside $50 million for improvements at four schools. The money will help build administrative facilities at Diamond Bar High School, which has been open since 1982. Its administrators work out of classrooms.
The district has 12,145 students in parts of Walnut, West Covina and Diamond Bar.
It would also pay for construction of a permanent facility at South Point Middle School, which now uses all portable classrooms, and fund renovations at Walnut High School and Suzanne Middle School.
Homeowners, who approved a similar bond measure in 1978, will pay an average of $42 annually for 25 years. Voter turnout in this election was 20.7%.
Final Results All bond issues needed two-thirds support for passage. Winners in bold (with *). POMONA Pomona Unified School District Proposition E--Bonds 36 of 36 Precincts Reporting
ISSUE VOTE % Yes* 6,459 74.7 No 2,184 25.2
SAN MARINO San Marino Unified School District Proposition F--Parcel tax 6 of 6 Precincts Reporting
ISSUE VOTE % Yes* 3,094 83.1 No 629 16.8
WALNUT Walnut Unified School District Proposition H--Bonds 16 of 16 Precincts Reporting
ISSUE VOTE % Yes* 3,788 74.6 No 1,287 25.3