Simi Valley voters approved a $35-million bond issue to renovate aging schools and narrowly rejected an $8-million measure that would have provided funds to build gymnasiums and an auditorium.
Measures A and B had to be approved by more than two-thirds of the voters to gain passage. Measure A, which will provide $35 million for new heating and air-conditioning systems for the district’s 27 schools, passed with 7,096 votes, or 70.4%.
But Measure B, which would have provided $8 million for new construction, only garnered 6,630 votes, or 65.9%, just short of the two-thirds majority.
Voter turnout Tuesday was a light 21.3% in the special election. There were 48,467 people eligible to vote, but only 10,309 ballots were cast.
Supt. John Duncan said school officials will decide Friday or Monday, after the results have been officially tabulated, whether to ask for a recount.
“It is just too close to rely on the machines correctly counting the ballots,” Duncan said. “What this means is we’ll be able to fix our schools and get a tax break, but not be able to build anything.”
In April, Simi Valley voters rejected a $35-million bond issue by 147 votes.
This time, the district campaigned aggressively for the bond issues. A citizens committee supporting the measures recruited more than 200 volunteers, and raised more than $6,000 to hire a political consultant and pay for other campaign expenses.
Property taxes will decrease with passage of Measure A, Duncan said. Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) and signed into law last month extends the district’s repayment of existing state loans.
As a result, even with payments for the new bonds, the annual school taxes on a $100,000 home will drop from $113 per year to $88 per year. Tax rates will drop again after 1994, when the existing state loan is repaid.