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NLMUSD Proceeds with Potential New Bond Worth $375 Million

NLMUSD LogoBy Kristin Grafft

The Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District voted to continue with plans towards a potential November 2014 bond measure for $375 million, at the January 6 meeting.

After surveying more than 500 likely voters in the NLMUSD area, the district found that 64 percent would support a bond measure in the November 2014 election for classroom repairs and improved instructional facilities. 

One of the key goals of the bond will be to provide physical education opportunities and upgrade athletic facilities that, “allow students to focus, stay out of trouble, and perform well in school.”

The money could also go towards repairing and updating classrooms, removing asbestos and lead paint, and upgrading school security and fire safety.

“As a District, it is important for the education and futures of our students to create a robust 21st century learning environment,” said Board President Margarita Rios. “In the next few months, we will continue to reach out to the Norwalk and La Mirada communities to gather information about specific needs within our schools, as well as provide information and answer questions about what a bond measure would mean for our community.”

However, following the initial presentation made to the board on December 20, many members raised concerns regarding the ballot language, litigation and transparency with the public.

One of the main concerns brought up was over the wording regarding “athletic facilities”. Daryl Adams was dissatisfied with the ‘generic-ness’ of the phrasing and wanted to be clear that their intentions, among other things, would be to build new athletic fields and a stadium.

Legal bond counsel David Casnocha was invited to the January 6 meeting in an attempt to dissuade those concerns and more fully explain the process and options the board has, should they choose to proceed.

Casnocha explained that the initial 75-word statement has many legal requirements that must be met, leaving ‘only so many words’ for elaborating on specific projects and intentions.

“The 75 words should frame the picture,” he said. It is intended to be the “broad guidelines for what the district can spend the money on. ‘Exhibit B’ and the project list will cover all the other details.”

The action taken at this weeks meeting means the board will continue its communication with the community regarding the needs and priorities of the district’s schools. These communications will then lead to a ‘wish list’ that will eventually become a part of the proposed bond language and ‘exhibit B’.

Action taken at this meeting did not decide on any final numbers, costs or project details.

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