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ABC School Board to Decide Future of the $635 Million Facilities Master Plan on Tuesday

 By Justin Cooley

(Cerritos) The ABC Unified School District Board of Education will meet on Tuesday night to discuss and vote on a widely touted and pricy Facilities Master Plan.

The project, first proposed in March 2013, was developed through ABCUSD’s joint contract with Flewelling & Moody to help gather information regarding the condition of all 30 schools and other locations scattered throughout the Southeast Los Angeles County public school system.

If passed by the board, the $648 million project would be implemented over a +20 year period to update “infrastructural and technology” at elementary, middle and high schools as well as the adult and district facilities.

The project is broken down into three categories according to documents reviewed by Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper and published online by district officials last week.

Category A focuses solely on the basic needs of each facility including helping the schools meet new and updated safety codes, preservation and restoration of older buildings, and the repair of mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Category B would work towards improving the learning conditions and methods of each learning environment. This would mean a greater support of educational programs to support a broader array of learning in the 21st century.

The last area of focus, Category C, would specialize in improvements any infrastructure not covered by Category A including improvements to playgrounds and lunch areas.

If the seven member elected body approves the Facilities Master Plan, the Board of Education would then look to vote on the recently proposed bond measure to help alleviate the strain of the cost of the program.

Under the bond, taxpayers can expect to pay approximately $200 – $400 extra per year on property taxes depending on the assessment value of their particular home.  District officials estimate that the average homeowner who resides in the ABCUSD would pay more than $20,000 extra for each taxpayer property over the project’s 30-year-period.

It appears that the bond has already created a controversy inside several political inner circles around the Cerritos political arena, including during a privately held meeting last week called by Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Chen and attended by at least five to seven current and past local elected officials.

Voting on the proposed bond measure will take place on July 15th, and voters will be slated to then vote on the measure on the upcoming November 2014  California General Election Ballot.


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