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$450 million bond awaits vote

District board trustees push funding measure in June

By George Morin, editor-in-chief
On March 6, 2014

"There's no better way to help education than to fund the future of community colleges," Associated Students Union President Ysrael Condori said about the district's $450 million June bond measure.
The Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board trustees voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to place the $450 million bond measure on the June ballot.
The board has spent the past year looking for different ways to fund long-range renovation plans for the 65-year-old district's aging campuses.
The estimated cost to finish the second and third phases of the Master Plan for Contra Costa, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos colleges is about $700 million, District Chief Facilities Planner Ray Pyle said.
Governing Board President John Marquez said, "When you look at the work we've done (with the previous bond measures), we're transforming our campuses, but more work needs to be done."
The district board approved two similar bond measures in the recent past.
The district board approved a $120 million measure in 2002 and a $286.5 million measure in 2006. As a result, Contra Costa homeowners now pay $13 each year per every $100,000 in assessed home value to fund these bond measures.
If voters approve the $450 million bond measure, that amount will increase to $25 for homeowners.
To pass, the bond measure would require 55 percent voter approval. A survey of 1,200 likely voters conducted by EMV Research in October 2013 found that 67 percent would be in favor of a $450 million bond, while 60 percent would be in favor of a $650 million bond measure.
The survey shows how the colleges in the district all poll favorably with voters.
The colleges' approval ratings are especially high within their own service areas (wards), EMC Research employee Alex Evans said.
The bond's proceeds would improve accessibility for those with disabilities, campus grounds and classroom and lab technology.
"I'm not comfortable with 50-year-old facilities," board Trustee John Nejedly said. "We need to fix (these facilities). We're seeing a payoff with our previous bond measures. I think we need to support our colleges and fixing them up is what we (district trustees) need to do."
Projects on the table include seismic retrofitting of existing buildings and new campus center and classroom buildings at CCC, renovating the Engineering Technology, Music and Performing Arts buildings at DVC and new Student Activities and Performing Arts buildings at LMC.
The bond measure funding would also go toward the first stage of a new campus in Brentwood and expansion of DVC's San Ramon Center.
"Being a Richmond resident, the youth don't really have a place to go (to college)," Condori said. "We need to fund local colleges and make them the places our youth want to go to." 

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