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Fillmore Trustees Put $10-Million School Bond on November Ballot

The beefed-up measure, which was rejected twice in 2000, needs only 55% of the vote to pass and is expected to be approved.

June 17, 2004|Arianne Aryanpur | Times Staff Writer

Fillmore residents will vote on a $10-million bond measure this November that would fund building and renovation projects in the Fillmore Unified School District, trustees decided this week.

The measure was approved Tuesday by trustees for the district, which serves about 3,900 children in Fillmore and Piru.

If approved, the bond would cost property owners about $48 for every $100,000 in assessed property value over 25 years.

The bond would pay for the completion of a multipurpose room and administration room at Mountain Vista Elementary School, new classrooms at Fillmore Elementary and improvements to existing structures at Fillmore High School.

The decision comes four years after a $7.5-million bond measure in Fillmore was narrowly rejected twice. The measure gained a 64% approval in March 2000, just shy of the two-thirds of votes required, and 59% in June.

But a state initiative passed in 2000 has lowered the requirement on bond measures to 55% approval.

"I think they've got a very good chance of passing it," Ventura County Schools Supt. Charles Weis said Wednesday.

"The vast majority of Fillmore residents want to invest in their schools. It's just unfortunate that it didn't pass earlier, because prices for schools have gone through the roof."

If the measure had passed in 2000, the construction projects would have cost the district substantially less, Fillmore schools Supt. Mario Contini said.

This time around, the district considered an $8-million bond measure but raised the amount because the bid at Mountain Vista was $3 million higher than anticipated, he said.

"There's so much out there now that contractors can demand higher prices," Contini said. "This, combined with the rising cost of steel and other things, has changed conditions so dramatically that at some other schools, their bids have become twice than what was estimated."

Fillmore voters approved a $12-million school bond in 1997.

Also on the November ballot will be two countywide sales tax initiatives. Voters will be asked whether they want to pay an additional 1/4 cent to acquire and preserve open space and an extra 1/2 cent for road-widening projects.

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