Local Funding

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As one of the top 5 school districts in San Diego county, San Marcos Unified School District’s (SMUSD) mission is to remain an innovative and collaborative community where all our students are challenged, inspired, and poised to excel.


After conducting a thorough Facilities Master Plan & Needs Assessment, it’s clear many of our aging schools, classrooms and labs, including 146 portable classrooms that are more than 25 years old and falling apart, have pressing infrastructure and repair needs.


Local Funding Under Local Control for SMUSD Schools

The SMUSD Governing Board is considering placing a school improvement bond measure on the November 2024 ballot. If approved by local voters, the potential measure could raise $324 million in locally-controlled funds, to:

  • Remove hazardous materials, mold, asbestos, and lead pipes from older school sites
  • Upgrade older schools so they meet current health codes, building safety codes, and provide access for students with disabilities
  • Repair or replace deteriorating roofs, plumbing, heating, ventilation, gas lines, sewer lines, and electrical systems

  • Provide the classrooms, facilities and technology to support quality instruction in math, science, engineering, and technology

  • Provide modern labs and career technical facilities so students are prepared for college and in demand careers in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology, and skilled trades

  • Improve student safety and school security including security fencing, security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers


Strict Fiscal Accountability and Oversight Required

Cost would be approximately 4 cents per $100 of assessed (not market) property value.
Any potential school bond measure would include fiscal accountability protections including:

  • A detailed project list indicating projects that could be funded

  • All money would stay local, only benefit SMUSD schools, and could not be taken by the State

  • Required citizens’ oversight and independent audits to ensure funds are spent properly

  • Qualifying for up to $96 million in state funds that will otherwise go to other Districts


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Frequently Asked Questions


How highly do San Marcos Unified School District schools rank?

The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is an award-winning school district with blue ribbon, gold ribbon and California distinguished schools. As one of the top 5 school districts in San Diego county, SMUSD’s mission is to remain an innovative and collaborative community providing an unparalleled educational experience. Through an engaging and supportive environment, all our students are challenged, inspired, and poised to excel. 


What challenges does SMUSD face?

After conducting a thorough Facilities Master Plan & Needs Assessment, there are many aging schools within SMUSD, including 146 portable classrooms with pressing infrastructure and repair needs that are more than 25 years old and falling apart. Many of these facilities have structural damage, water leaks, and mold. With mounting expenses for repairs, funding is needed to replace aging structures and decaying portables with modern, permanent classrooms to support quality academics and student success in college and careers.


Click here for the full scope of facilities needs: https://www.smore.com/q1n7wa.


Are SMUSD schools well maintained?

Our District maintenance team works hard to take care of our aging classrooms and school facilities by keeping up with minor repairs and maintenance. Unfortunately, the significant upgrades and improvements needed at our older schools are beyond what can be accomplished by our maintenance team and funded by our regular maintenance budget. The State of California provides very limited funding for school improvements, and most state funding requires local matching funds.


Is there a plan to address these needs at our local schools? 

A complete Facilities Master Plan & Needs Assessment was presented to the Governing Board and the public during the November 2, 2023 meeting. See the full meeting recap including the Facilities Master Plan & Needs Assessment here: https://www.smore.com/q1n7wa

To ensure local schools are safe and functioning and up to modern classroom standards, the SMUSD Governing Board is considering placing a school improvement bond measure on the November 2024 ballot. If approved by local voters, the potential measure would cost approximately 4 cents per $100 in assessed (not market) property value while bonds are outstanding. 


What projects could a bond measure fund?

Funding from a potential bond measure could support identified priority needs in our District, including: 

  • Remove hazardous materials, mold, asbestos, and lead pipes from older school sites where encountered

  • Upgrade older schools so they meet current health codes, building safety codes, and provide proper access for students with disabilities

  • Repair or replace deteriorating roofs, plumbing, heating, ventilation, gas lines, sewer lines, and electrical systems where needed

  • Provide the classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support high quality instruction in math, science, engineering, and technology

  • Provide modern labs and career technical facilities and equipment so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology, and skilled trades

  • Improve student safety and campus security systems including security fencing, security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers


How much will the potential measure cost?

The tax rate per property is estimated to be 4 cents per $100 assessed value ($20 million annually) while bonds are outstanding.


Would this measure include any fiscal accountability provisions?

Any potential school bond measures would include strict fiscal accountability protections to ensure responsible management of funds, including:

  • A detailed project list indicating projects that could be funded with Governing Board approval

  • Public disclosures of all spending would be required 

  • A citizens’ oversight committee and independent annual audits would be required

  • All money raised by the measure would be controlled locally and could not be taken by the State


Will this measure qualify us for state matching funds? 

Yes, this measure would qualify SMUSD for up to $96 million in state funds that will otherwise go to other Districts.


What is the difference between assessed value and market value? 

The cost of bond measures is based on the assessed value of properties. The assessed value of property is generally based on the last purchase price and may not increase to reflect inflation by more than 2% a year. Market value, on the other hand, is based on market conditions and tends to grow at a much faster rate. Thus, the assessed value is usually much lower than the market value, especially if a property was purchased long ago at a much lower price than it could be purchased for today. It is this lower assessed value upon which the cost of a bond measure is based.


Could this funding be taken by the State?  

No funds could be taken by the State or used for purposes other than those specified in the bond measure. All funds from the bond measure would stay local and only benefit SMUSD schools.


Hasn’t SMUSD passed a bond before?

Yes, Prop K in 2010, made significant improvements to San Marcos High School and many other schools. Independent oversight and annual audits confirm funds were spent as promised. 

Click for detailed information about Prop K, including Citizen Oversight Committee information.

Unfortunately, since the State provides no local facilities repair funding to school districts, there’s still much more work to be done.


I don't have children attending local schools. How does this impact me?

Even if you do not have school-age children, supporting quality education is a wise investment. By maintaining high-quality public schools in our neighborhoods, we continue to attract new families to our community and protect our local property values.


When would a measure appear on the ballot?

The Governing Board is considering placing a measure on the November 2024 ballot.


What level of support is required to pass a bond measure?

At least 55% of those voters who cast a ballot on the measure must vote "Yes" on the measure for it to pass.