La Cañada Unified School District

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Facilities Improvement Measure FAQ

La Cañada Unified School District

School Facilities Improvement Measure FAQ

How are La Cañada schools doing?

With rigorous academic programs and dedicated teachers and staff, La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD) ranks in the top one percent in State student achievement scores with 98 percent of LCUSD graduates going on to college. All LCUSD elementary schools have been identified as California Distinguished Schools and La Cañada High School has twice been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Our students excel in academics, athletics and the arts. LCUSD schools equip students with the essential skills needed to succeed in today’s world and help keep our community a desirable place to live and protect property values.

What challenges are facing our schools?

While LCUSD students continue to excel, all of our schools were built more than 45 years ago and are in need of modernization so they can serve the community well for decades to come. Aging facilities require upgrades and repair to support 21st century learning. Aging classrooms, science instruction space and other facilities are in need of upgrades to meet modern standards. School safety improvements, repairs to old buildings and upgrades to instructional technology are all critical to support continued student achievement in LCUSD schools.

How does LCUSD plan to address its facility needs challenges?

LCUSD has engaged experts and members of the community in a Facilities Master Planning process to help identify specific projects and to assist the Board of Education in setting priorities for addressing school facility needs and identify costs. More than 350 parents, teachers, staff and students have provided input through a collaborative process over the 2016-17 school year to develop LCUSD Facilities Master Plan. The completed plan will be presented to the Board of Education in June 2017.

How would facility repairs and upgrades be funded?

The La Cañada Unified School District Board is considering placing a measure on the November 7, 2017 ballot to fund school facilities updates. This bond measure would generate $149 million in locally controlled funding, without increasing the current tax rate, to repair and update classrooms and school facilities, and help qualify LCUSD for State matching funds.

Can’t the State fund school facility improvements?

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the State to fund these necessary repairs in our local La Cañada schools. The State only provides a modest amount of money to districts for facilities, and mostly in the form of matching funds to districts that pass local bond measures. In order to address identified needs, a local source of funding is needed.

What specific projects could a local school facility improvement bond measure fund?

If approved by local voters, a school facility improvement measure could:

  • Repair and replace leaky roofs, rusty plumbing and faulty electrical systems
  • Improve student safety and campus security systems, including security lighting, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors and fire alarms
  • Update classrooms and instructional technology to support advanced courses in math, science, engineering and technology
  • Upgrade and modernize science labs and career technology education facilities so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers, and replace worn out athletic facilities and deteriorating portable classrooms

How do we know funds from a potential school facility improvement measure would be spent as promised?

Any local school facility improvement bond measure must include the following fiscal accountability provisions:

  • All funds would stay local to improve and benefit La Cañada schools
  • No money could be taken by the State or for used administrators’ salaries
  • An independent citizens’ oversight committee would ensure funds are spent only on voter-approved purposes
  • The estimated annual property tax would extend but not increase the current rate of $60 per $100,000 in assessed value (not market value)


How much would a local school facility improvement measure cost?

The proposed measure is structured to fund local school facility improvements without increasing the tax rate local property owners currently pay.  This measure would extend the current $60 per $100,000 in assessed property value (not market value) tax rate for an additional 30 years. Assessed value is determined by the Los Angeles County Assessor, and is often much closer to the original purchase price of the home than to today’s market value.

Would all funds benefit our La Cañada schools?

Yes. All funds would be locally controlled and would benefit La Cañada schools. No funding could be taken away by the State or used for other purposes.

Is there any other way to repair and upgrade our schools?

Our District has very few options when it comes to making the necessary renovations and upgrades to our local schools. We can’t rely on the State to complete these repairs. A local school repair measure would provide the local funding needed to complete prioritized projects and provide a safe and modern learning environment for our students.

What level of support does a local school facility improvement funding measure need to pass?

The potential measure must be supported by 55% of those who vote on it in order to pass.

Who is eligible to vote on a potential local school facility improvement funding measure?

All registered voters within the La Cañada Unified School District borders would be eligible to vote on the measure.

Didn’t we just pass a funding measure for our schools?

In June 2009, La Canada voters approved Measure LC to provide locally controlled funding to support teachers and academic programs in local schools and to protect local schools from budget cuts. Local voters renewed this funding in March 2014. The use of Measure LC funding is limited to teaching and instructional programs and cannot be used to fund facility improvements. Similarly, funds from the proposed school facility improvement measure could only be used for improvements to classrooms and other facilities and not for instructional programs.  The last local school facility improvement measure in La Canada was approved by voters 13 years ago.

How can I learn more about our schools?

As we continue to plan for the future of our students, we welcome your input. For additional information, please contact the office of Superintendent Wendy Sinnette at (818) 952-8381 or visit our website at