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$9.7 Million Sought to Update Schools

Magnolia district officials seek money from Measure G bonds to bolster 30- to 40-year-old infrastructures. Matching state funds will be requested if the effort passes.


Voters in the Magnolia School District in Stanton and Anaheim today will decide the fate of Measure G, the $9.7-million bond issue aimed at improving the district's schools.

District officials said the money is critical for updating the schools' 30- to 40-year-old infrastructures. Funds would go toward replacing underground gas, water and sewer lines, upgrading fire alarm systems, repaving playgrounds and installing wiring for Internet access.

"We have beautiful schools on the surface and our students are great, but we have 40-year-old utilities, and they just plain need updating," said Richard Johnson, principal of Dr. Peter Marshall Elementary School in Anaheim.

Officials said the district continually applies Band-Aids to avert disaster. Maintenance workers patch playgrounds and replace gas lines and water lines as they leak. "Two to three times a year it seems like they're digging up the playground to get to a plugged-up sewer," said Gregg Smith, principal of Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim.

Replacing the underground plumbing would be more cost-effective than piecemeal repairs, said Richard Turrentine, assistant superintendent of the district. He said an updated electrical system would allow classrooms to install more computers and access the Internet.

Besides providing almost $10 million for improvements, the bond measure's approval would allow the district to apply for matching state funds, Turrentine said. Without the local bonds and state funds, the district cannot afford the improvements, he said.

Ten years ago, the district applied for--but was denied--state funding for school upgrades. The November passage of Proposition 1A, a substantial state school bond measure, encouraged district officials to put the bond measure on the ballot so they could once again apply for help.

Proponents estimate the bond measure would cost property owners an additional $25.27 per year per $100,000 of property value. School board trustees said they know of no one who formally opposes it.

Judy Silber can be reached at (714) 966-5988.

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