The $60 million Measure M school bond measure was approved by a slim margin late Tuesday evening, with its backers thanking the community for its support of local children.
With all 50 precincts reporting, Measure M 56.82 percent support, with 43.18 percent opposing the measure..
Measure M needed 55 percent approval to pass.
Susan Walsh, a Merced City School District Board of Education member, said the results show the community cares for its children.
“I’m pretty humbled by it,” Walsh said.
Superintendent RoseMary Parga Duran said the Measure M committee was optimistic the bond was going to be successful.
“It’s for the kids, not anything else,” Duran said. “This shows loud and clear that they care about their kids. It benefits all 17 schools. The committee worked hard on the campaign.”
Adam Cox, a board member and Measure M committee co-chairman, said he was happy to see the community support the bond and is looking forward to moving ahead with the facilities master plan. Every single school will get some upgrades, he added.
Darrell Cherf, also a board member and committee co-chairman, thanked the community for its support of schools.
Bond funds coupled with future revenue from the state are expected to go toward electronic upgrades to accommodate new computers at some of the schools which are between 50 and 60 years old. New roofs and security upgrades also are planned.
More than $132 million in top-priority needs were identified in the long-range facilities master plan under development for more than a year.
Greg Spicer, associate superintendent for administrative services, said even those who were opposed to Measure M weren’t against the cause, just concerned about raising taxes. The Measure M bond has a 30-year lifespan, although it could be retired in 25 years.
Ken Testa, the administrator in charge of construction projects at Rivera Middle School, said that some of the construction projects should begin by the spring or summer of 2015.
More modest bond measures in the Merced River and Planada elementary school districts and Le Grand Union High School District all passed Tuesday night. Measure N in Le Grand had 55.63 percent approval, while the other two ballot measures had more than 60 percent approval.
Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.