Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Special District

Saddleback Valley Unified School District
Measure M Bond Measure - 55% Approval Required

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Election Results


27,026 votes yes (37.5%)

44,978 votes no (62.5%)

100% of precincts reporting (138/138).

72,004 ballots counted.

To repair local schools, classrooms, science labs, career training facilities to support college readiness/career preparation in math, science, engineering, technology, arts and skilled trades, improve safety/security, remove hazardous materials/asbestos, and repair deteriorating roofs/plumbing/electrical systems at older schools, shall the Saddleback Valley Unified School District measure authorizing $495,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying 3 cents per $100 assessed value ($30,000,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding, be adopted, with citizen oversight/ all funds staying local?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by Pros/Cons — League of Women Voters of California

Opponents say

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “YES” vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the School District to issue and sell $495,000,000 in general obligation bonds.


NO vote means

A “NO” vote is a vote against authorizing the School District to issue and sell $495,000,000 in general obligation bonds.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

This measure was placed on the ballot by the governing board (“Board”) of the Saddleback Valley Unified School District (“School District”).

This measure, if approved by 55 percent of the votes cast on the measure, will authorize the School District to issue and sell $495,000,000 in general obligation bonds. The sale of these bonds by the School District represents a debt of the School District.

Voter approval of this measure will also authorize an annual tax to be levied on taxable property in the School District to generate revenue to pay principal and interest on the bonds. The School District’s stated best estimate in its tax rate statement of the average annual tax rate required to fund the bonds is $34 per $100,000 of assessed value. The School District’s best estimate of the highest annual tax rate required to fund the bonds is $34 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this measure may only be used by the School District for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities within the School District. A complete list of the projects and allowed expenditures, which bonds proceeds may be spent on, is included in the full text of the measure. The Board has certified that it has evaluated student safety, class size, and information technology needs in developing its project list.

The California Constitution provides that proceeds of school district bond measures cannot be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other operating expenses and requires independent annual performance and financial audits. State law requires the establishment of an independent citizens oversight committee for ensuring that bond proceeds are expended as specified in the measure and as provided by law.

A “YES” vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the School District to issue and sell $495,000,000 in general obligation bonds.

A “NO” vote is a vote against authorizing the School District to issue and sell $495,000,000 in general obligation bonds.

Tax rate

As shown in the attached official ballot, an election is being held in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District (“District”) on March 3, 2020, for the purpose of submitting to the registered voters within the District the question of whether the District shall issue and sell bonds in an amount not to exceed $495,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds for the specified school facilities and school projects as set forth in the resolution of the District calling such bond election. This measure will authorize a tax sufficient for payment of interest on, and redemption of, the bonds. The bonds shall bear interest at a rate, or rates, to be established at such time as the bonds are sold, in one or more series, at fixed or variable interest rates not to exceed the maximum applicable statutory rate for such bonds. If such bonds are authorized and sold, the principal thereof and the interest thereon are a general obligation of the District, payable from the proceeds of ad valorem property taxes on taxable real property located within the District.

The following information is submitted in compliance with California Elections Code Sections 9401 through 9404 based on estimates of assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement:

(a) The best estimate from official sources of the average annual tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund the bond issue during the entire duration of the bond debt service (repayment of the bonds) based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, which is a projection based on experience within the same jurisdiction or other demonstrable factors, is $0.034 per $100 ($34.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation. The final fiscal year in which such tax is anticipated to be collected is 2052- 2053.

(b) The best estimate from official sources of the average annual dollar amount of taxes that would be collected during the ten-year period following the initial levy for this Measure is $17,903,288.

(c) The best estimate from official sources of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund such bond issue(s) based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, which is a projection based on experience within the same jurisdiction or other demonstrable factors, is $0.034 per $100 ($34.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation. It is estimated that this tax rate would apply in the 2020-2021 tax/fiscal year.

(d) The best estimate of the total debt service, including principal and interest, that would be required to be repaid if all the bonds are issued and sold is $979,952,625.

Voters should note that these estimated tax rates are based on the assessed value of taxable property within the District as shown on the official rolls of Orange County, not on the property’s market value. In addition, taxpayers eligible for a property tax exemption, such as the homeowner’s exemption, will be taxed at a lower effective rate than described above. Actual future assessed valuation will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the District as determined by the Orange County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills and/or tax advisors to determine their property’s assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.

Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that these estimates are based on assumptions and projections derived from information currently available and obtained from official sources. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary depending on the timing of any bond sales, the amount of bonds sold, the maturities of the bonds issued and sold, market interest rates at the time of each sale of bonds and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds. The figures provided above are estimations based on the factors noted herein and are not maximum limitations. The timing of the bond sales and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be governed by the needs of the District.

The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on the bond market at the time of each such sale. Actual future assessed valuation will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the District as determined by the Orange County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process.

Dated: November 14, 2019

s/ Crystal Turner


Superintendent, Saddleback Valley Unified School District

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Vote YES on M to keep Saddleback Valley Unified School District schools among the best in California.

Our schools were built more than 40 years ago and need to be modernized. To succeed in college and careers, graduates need a solid background in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Students who don’t go to college need modern career training to compete for good jobs.

Voting Yes on M makes essential repairs and improvements to ensure schools continue to serve our community for decades to come, including:

• Upgrade student safety and campus security systems – lighting, emergency communications systems, security camera, smoke detectors, fire alarms

• Upgrading classrooms, facilities and technology to support innovative instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and math

• Providing modern science and engineering labs to prepare students for college and careers in health sciences, engineering, technology and skilled trades

• Providing classrooms and facilities to support music and visual and performing arts

• Replacing wood and support beams with extensive termite damage and dry rot

• Repairing or replacing roofs, plumbing, sewer, HVAC and electrical systems

Measure M funds will only be used to improve all Saddleback Valley schools. These funds can’t be taken by the State. Yes on M helps our schools qualify for millions in State matching money that will otherwise go to other schools.

Measure M requires strict accountability including a Citizens’ Oversight Committee and independent audits to ensure funds are spent properly. No money can be used for teacher or administrator salaries or pensions.

Even if you don’t have school-age children, improving local schools is a wise investment. Good schools improve our community and protect home values.

Please join parents, teachers, seniors, elected and business leaders and vote Yes on M for Saddleback Valley schools.


s/ Susan “Suzie” Swartz

SVUSD Board President

s/ Donald Froelich

Moulton Niguel Water District Board, 11 year Laguna Hills Resident

s/ Ernestine Jones

Measure B, Citizen Oversight Committee, Co-Chair

s/ Louise Robertson

Saddleback Valley PTA Council President

s/ Mandy Kelly

2019 State Teacher of the Year, Teacher at Trabuco Mesa Elementary

Arguments AGAINST

Saddleback Valley Unified School District wants your vote for a $495 Million Bond Tax. If passed, this bond debt will increase our local taxes by nearly $1 Billion.

We urge you to OPPOSE and VOTE NO ON MEASURE M!

• Increased property taxes will bind you and future generations to this bond debt for approximately 33 more years until 2053

• Our residents are currently paying taxes on the existing 2004 school bond for another nine years

• Renters will pay higher rents as landlords pass on the cost of added property taxes

• Businesses will increase prices to customers

• Bond interest rates have not been disclosed and will most likely increase over the life of the bond debt.

• Attempts an end-run around Howard Jarvis Prop. 13 protections for their Bond Taxes!

• Senior citizens and retirees on fixed incomes cannot absorb continual life-long tax increases

• Young families will not be able to afford houses

Do Not be MISLEAD the TAX would only be $130 per year! This figure is based on a home assessed value of $382,000.

Just eight years ago, California voters approved Proposition 30’s “temporary taxes”. Proposition 30 raised income taxes and sales taxes.

Then via Proposition 55 in 2016, most of those same “temporary taxes” were extended twelve years! Both times the teachers’ unions promised “billions in funding for our schools”. Measure M would now raise your property taxes.

Leaky roofs, asbestos, and faulty wiring are buzzwords used to scare caring residents into voting themselves into years of financial bondage. The proposed list of projects is not legally binding and cannot be used to hold the district accountable for spending.

NO MORE TAXES-SVUSD does not have a revenue problem, they have a SPENDING problem!


s/ David Alabran PHD

Parent, Community Leader, Counselor

s/ Marlis Boyce

Concerned Parent

s/ Leo Maldonado

Concerned parent, business owner

s/ Sarah Saia

Concerned Parent, Community Health advocate

s/ Matthew Trudell

Parent, Advocate for children, Business owner

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The opponents’ misleading argument and incorrect information ignores these indisputable facts:

• Our neighborhood schools serve over 27,000 local students each day. Many of our schools were built over 40 years ago and need urgent repairs and upgrades to keep students safe and support high-quality education.

• No other funding exists to complete these upgrades. Without Measure M, schools will continue aging and deteriorating. Waiting only makes these improvements more expensive.

• SVUSD has shown fiscal responsibility by refinancing previous bonds to save taxpayers almost $25 million.

• Measure M helps capture our fair share of state matching funds. With Measure M, Saddleback Valley schools qualify for approximately $50 million in state matching money that otherwise will go to other school districts.

• By law, every penny from Measure M must be spent locally to improve our schools. No funds can be taken away by the State or diverted to other schools. No funds can be used for teacher or administrator salaries or pensions.

• The median assessed home value in SVUSD is approximately $500,000, which means Measure M will costs the typical homeowner just $11 per month. Growth in your home value will ar exceed this cost if our schools and neighborhoods remain attractive to families.

• Measure M requires citizens’ oversight and a project list detailing exactly how the money will be used.

• Strong schools improve the quality of life in our communities and protect the value of our homes. Join our community’s most respected leaders. Vote Yes on M to keep our communities and property values strong.

s/ Robert Gaebel

Retired SVUSD Principal

s/ Keri Lynn Baert

Parent Organization Leader

s/ Jennifer D. Kelly

Saddleback Schools Employee of the Year.

s/ Dore Gilbert

MD Veteran Laguna Hills City Council

s/ Louis Bronstein

Ast. Dir. Gov. Rel.

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