By Deb Murphy
Two thousand eighteen is turning out to be the year of the school bond in the Eastern Sierra. Residents in the Mammoth Unified School District will be heading to the polls to cast a ballot for a $63.1 million school bond, Measure B to refurbish the elementary, middle and high schools, along with Inyo County residents in Independence and Lone Pine districts.
The cost to property owners will be approximately $60 per $100,000 of assessed value. Passage of Measure B requires a yes vote from 55-percent of ballots cast.
The issues are similar across the board: aging infrastructure, an emphasis on safety and a movement toward reducing utility costs.
Mammoth High is well into middle-age at 44, followed by the elementary school, built in 1985. The middle school is a relatively young 16 years-old. Like other districts dependent on property tax funding, Mammoth was hit by the burst real state bubble in 2008 followed by homeowners having their houses re-appraised to bring their property tax burden in line with the slumping market value. In an effort to keep as much money in the classroom as possible, districts opted to move money from maintenance.
As required, the Measure B statement includes all projects potentially funded by the bond. At the top of that project list is the renovation of aging classroom buildings and school facilities. The list also includes improved site access points, security systems and cameras for enhanced safety, updates of wiring, lighting, communications, technology and infrastructure, repair or replacement of plumbing, replacement of old portables with permanent structures, modernized libraries, improvements to physical education facilities, repair or replacement of exterior siding, windows, doors and roofs, multipurpose and food service facilities improvements.