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UPDATED: School bond passes

Posted: November 4, 2008 10:45 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2008 1:45 a.m.
 
UPDATED 1:45 a.m. Wednesday:

A Hart district school bond measure too close to call late Tuesday night appears to have won as of early Wednesday morning.

With 71.96 percent of precincts reporting as of 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, more than 59 percent of the voters had approved Measure SA for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

A 55 percent majority was required for passage.

+++++++

"We are thrilled and we are very, very hopeful that it is going to pass," said Gloria Mercado-Fortine, president of the Hart district board, Tuesday night.

If it passes, the measure would provide older schools will make-overs and a new high school for Castaic.

The $300 million general obligation bond would fund projects including modernizing classrooms, replacing temporary buildings, upgrading facilities to meet fire and safety codes and relieving crowding at existing schools by adding a much-needed high school in the Castaic area.
Mercado-Fortine said she remained optimistic.

"We want to rank No. 1 in terms of student achievement, and this is one way of ensuring that we do," she said.

"It will allow us to build a new school in Castaic and relieve overcrowding in our high schools."

A "yes" vote means better education through the Hart district, she said.

But Dan Faggiano said he voted against Measure SA, not because he's opposed to a high school being built for the people in Castaic but because he believed there was no accountability for how the bond money would be spent.

"One of the confusing parts of the ballot was Measure SA, selling bonds," he said. "I read a little more about it in the voter information packet and it said the last measure for bonds showed that the money was not appropriated correctly."

Bond money approved by voters can only be used on the listed projects, and the money must stay within the district to improve the schools. The Hart district currently serves more than 20,000 students at 17 schools.

An oversight committee, consisting of five to 17 people from the community, will be formed to ensure Measure SA projects stay on track and do not go over budget.

Residents are still paying an additional $30 in property taxes per $100,000 of assessed valuation for

Measure V, which was approved for $158 million in 2001.

The new bond will increase property taxes by $5 to $35 per $100,000 assessed valuation.

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