San Diego City Schools Proposition MM - Repairing Our Neighborhood Schools
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What Is Proposition MM?
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Where We're At Today
Long Range Facilities Master Plan

In the late 1990s, San Diego City Schools undertook the largest public review of school facilities in the district's history. Parents, teachers, principals, neighbors and community and business leaders participated in the evaluation process. This major assessment became the basis for the Long Range Facilities Master Plan.

The assessment revealed that our neighborhood schools were desperately in need of $4 billion of repairs, renovations and replacement. Roofs were leaking. Pipes were bursting. Wood was rotting. Electrical systems were failing. Heating and ventilation systems needed replacing. Foundations and pavements were cracking. Classrooms lacked the necessary electrical outlets to operate today's technology, and schools lacked adequate science labs and libraries. For the past 20 years, all but the most serious repairs had to be deferred due to shortage of money and competing academic priorities. Click here to see pictures of our schools before Proposition MM.

In addition, overcrowding had become a huge problem; enrollment had increased by 20,000 students from 1986 to 1998. Almost every school lacked sufficient classroom space. At some schools, portable classrooms had overtaken playground space. San Diego's children needed modernized facilities and new classrooms.

How did this happen?
The recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in tough decisions for everyone, especially schools. Limited available dollars were spent on funding for teachers, nurses, books, supplies and teaching-related materials. As a result, school repairs and renovations had to be postponed. During this same time, enrollment increased dramatically, causing a shortage of school and classroom space.

San Diego voters pass Proposition MM
On July 1, 1998, the Board of Education unanimously voted to place a $1.51 billion bond measure - called Proposition MM - on the November 1998 ballot to fund modernization of 161 existing schools and construction of 12 new and three rebuilt schools. Proposition MM continues the existing property tax rate that would have otherwise expired in 2003. The typical homeowner in San Diego pays $95.75 for each $100,000 assessed valuation.

On November 3, 1998, 78 percent of San Diego voters approved Proposition MM. It is the largest active public works program in the County of San Diego, and the second largest in California.

Our Schools Before Proposition MM

For more photos,
click here

How Proposition MM is being spent
Proposition MM funds projects in the following categories:

Repairing aging schools
Proposition MM eliminates the district's $258 million maintenance backlog. Maintenance that had been postponed due to lack of funding caused the district to fall critically behind its regular maintenance schedules. Projects include repairs and/or replacement of ceiling tile, flooring, roofing, concrete/asphalt, plumbing/drainage/sewers, door and window assemblies, electrical systems, painting, fencing, irrigation, erosion and bleachers. 

Ensuring health and safety
While schools are structurally safe, Proposition MM funds upgrades necessary to meet state and federal safety regulations for playground equipment, access for the physically disabled, fire alarm/security systems and climate controls.

Upgrading electrical systems for technology
Computer technology in the classroom was not even a dream when most of our schools were constructed. Using the standards of construction followed 30 to 50 years ago, many classrooms were built with only two electrical outlets. Proposition MM funds technology improvements at all elementary and high schools. (Middle schools were upgraded in a previous bond measure.)

Building libraries, science classrooms and outdoor lunch court shelters
Proposition MM funds the upgrading and construction of new science classrooms at middle and high schools, expansion or construction of libraries at 104 schools to support literacy goals, and construction of lunch court shelters at all elementary and secondary schools that do not currently have lunch court shelters.

Renovating existing classrooms and constructing new facilities
Proposition MM funds the construction of 12 new elementary schools and a rebuilt Lincoln High School. It also funds the rebuilding of two temporary schools (Burbank and Mead) that are more than 20 years old.

Maintaining school buildings and grounds
To ensure that classrooms are never allowed to deteriorate to a substandard level again, Proposition MM also provides funding for future major repair and replacement at existing schools.

Improving the teaching and learning environment
Other major items covered by Proposition MM include:
  • single-session kindergarten classrooms at all elementary schools
  • replacement of portable classrooms with permanent buildings at 20 schools
  • additional counseling, parent involvement, conference and special education facilities at 84 schools
  • major additions to Thurgood Marshall, Dana and Farb middle schools, as well as Edison Elementary School
  • school repairs identified by school staff
  • water in all elementary school classrooms.

  Proposition MM Work In Progress

Where We're At Today
In its first two years of implementation, Proposition MM faced several unexpected delays and cost overruns. Despite this slow start, work is now on track and fiscal responsibility is in place so that all San Diego City Schools will receive what was promised to them. The program made up for lost time under the direction of Lou Smith, a retired Navy rear admiral and civil engineer, who was hired to turn around the program from December 2001-February 2004. Among the accomplishments: 
  • Dramatic turnaround.

  • The Proposition MM program is on track. In fiscal year 2001-2002, the district flew by the $300 million mark of cumulative expenditures since the beginning of the program. And in the 2002-2003 fiscal year alone, Proposition MM expenditures are expected to reach $340 million. The dramatic recovery of Proposition MM caught the attention of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA). SDCTA  gave Proposition MM its coveted Grand Golden Watchdog Award in 2005 and a Regional Golden Watchdog Award in 2002 for exmplifying efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
  • Modernizing existing schools. 

  • Proposition MM modernization and construction work is happening at more than 80 schools at any given time.
  • Building new schools. 

  • Ellen Browning Scripps Modular Elementary School opened in September 2001, the first of the new schools to be built. Due to an emphasis on community engagement, the American Planning Association gave San Diego City Schools a first place award for Proposition MM's New School Site Selection Process.
  • Local commitment.

  • To date, San Diego City Schools has awarded 98 percent of Proposition MM contract dollars to San Diego-based firms.
  • Contractor outreach. 

  • Due to an aggressive outreach strategy, the district has awarded 41 percent of all Proposition MM contract dollars to Emerging Business Firms, with 13 percent going to disadvantaged-, women-owned- and disabled veterans-business enterprises and 28 percent going to small business enterprises. Read the Fact Sheet about Proposition MM's business outreach efforts.
  • Fiscal responsibility.

  • Change order rates are closely monitored and have averaged only five percent for all projects. Systems are in place to verify correct scoping and accounting procedures. And a program-cost forecasting methodology will ensure successful fulfillment of all bond obligations.
  • An urban village: San Diego Model School.

  • As envisioned, a new Proposition MM school in City Heights could anchor an urban village master plan that would include replacement housing, joint use recreation areas, underground parking, family services and retail. The project is the result of an unprecedented collaboration and joint powers authority among San Diego City Schools, the City of San Diego and its Housing Authority and Redevelopment Agency. The joint powers authority will facilitate all aspects of financing, planning, design and construction of the entire project.
  • Independent oversight.

  • The Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, a group of volunteer citizens, closely monitors Proposition MM implementation and expenditures. The ICOC's goal is to assure the public and Board of Education that Proposition MM bond funds have been, are being and will continue to be well spent in accordance with the bond measure. ICOC subcommittee members walk school campuses, review project planning documents, monitor community meetings and examine audit reports to verify that the district is effectively using citizens' tax dollars.
  Our Schools After Proposition MM




Long Range Facilities Master Plan
In the late 1990s, San Diego City Schools undertook the largest public review of school facilities in the district's history. This major assessment became the basis for the Long Range Facilities Master Plan. Parents, teachers, principals, residents as well as community and business leaders were part of the evaluation process. The Long Range Facilities Master Plan identified $1.51 billion of critically needed facility improvements, as well as $2.5 billion of needed additional renovation and new construction.

Read the Long Range Facilities Master Plan below. The files are in pdf format.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Description of Process
Chapter 2 - School Programs
Chapter 3 - Support Services
Chapter 4 - Existing Facilities
Chapter 5 - Demographics
Chapter 6 - Implementation Plan

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