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Bond Measure FAQs

What is a general obligation bond?Top of Page

General obligation bonds fund projects, such as the renovation of existing classrooms and school facilities, as well as construction of new schools and classrooms. When voters approve a bond referendum, the Board of Trustees is authorized to sell bonds to pay for much needed renovation/replacement, additions, and technology upgrade needs. The bonds are sold over a multiple year period and represent a long-term general obligation, similar to a home loan. Typically, general obligation bonds are repaid over a 30 year period, but can be repaid over a shorter period. By passing the referendum, voters agree to ad valorem (property based) taxes to fund the annual principal and interest payment on bonds. The loan repayment comes from a tax on all taxable property located within the District — residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial.

What level of support is required to pass bond measures?Top of Page

For a Proposition 39 type general obligation bond, at least 55% of those voters who cast a ballot on the measure must vote “Yes” in order for a bond measure to be approved.  

Proposition 39 was passed on the November 7, 2000 California general election.  It lowered the required supermajority necessary in order for voters to approve local school bond measures, from 2/3 of all votes cast to 55%.  If a school district places a non-Proposition 39 bond on the ballot, it still requires 2/3 of all votes cast in order to pass.

What will the passage of general obligation bonds mean for our students and the community?Top of Page

General obligation bonds provide funds to build new classrooms to relieve overcrowding, and to make repairs and upgrades to existing classrooms and school facilities; many of which are also used and available to the community such as the libraries, gymnasiums, auditoriums, swimming pools, and athletic fields.

I don’t have children in school; how would bond measures benefit me?Top of Page

Improvements to schools can have a positive impact on the entire community, not only the students.  Aside from positive impacts on quality of education, improvements to schools can positively impact the local economy, local property values, traffic flow and safety. The District is committed to hiring from local businesses and companies, benefitting the current workforce.  A better quality of education will lead to a better-skilled workforce in the future.

How will the bond measures support student achievement?Top of Page

The physical environment makes a difference in education.  Research links student achievement with the quality of the built environment (new and modernized buildings and grounds, lighting, indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustic quality).  Safe, secure, well designed and maintained facilities have a positive effect on student performance, attendance, and reduced disciplinary problems.

Improvements funded by bond measures ensure students can continue to learn in safe and modern classrooms by:
  • Replacing or repairing leaky roofs
  • Upgrading fire and earthquake safety
  • Repairing and upgrading classrooms and science labs
  • Improving indoor air quality and comfort
  • Improving acoustics
  • Preventing overcrowding by providing additional classrooms and facilities
  • Updating learning technology and infrastructure

How can I be sure that bond funds will be spent on improving our schools?Top of Page

Fiscal accountability provisions were established to protect taxpayers. As required by law, an independent citizens' oversight committee ensures that bond funds are properly spent. Also by law, the District conducts annual audits. No bond money is used for teacher or administrative salaries. All funds go directly to our local high schools and cannot be taken away by the State.

Who provides oversight of Bond Measures?Top of Page

As required by Education Code Section 15278, the District appoints a committee of local residents, whose main charge is to inform the public about how the bond dollars are being spent. The committee, known as the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, actively reviews and reports on the expenditure of taxpayer’s money for school construction to ensure that bond funds are spent in accordance with the provisions of the bond. The committee is comprised of volunteers who represent specific constituencies, such as senior citizens, parents, businesses, or the community-at-large.

Each year a fiscal and performance audit of bond expenditures is conducted.  The audits have concluded that East Side complied in all material respects with bond measure requirements to expend proceeds only on the school facilities projects specified in the bond measure legislation.  The auditor issued unqualified opinion that no deficiencies or unallowable expenses were discovered that should not be charged to the Bond Program.  

The Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee reviews and reports on the annual audits, in addition to their other monitoring and reporting activities.  To learn more and review reports from the Committee, please visit the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee page.

Will all funds benefit East Side High School District Silicon Valley schools and students?Top of Page

All funds generated by East Side High School District Silicon Valley bond measures benefit East Side schools and students.  None of the funds can be taken away by the State or go to other school districts.

How much does a bond issue cost me as a homeowner?Top of Page

Below is a sample of an annual tax bill, the tax rate for the ESUHSD bond is located under taxing agency – High School Bonds (marked 1 on the sample).  The rate is .000792.  To determine the amount of your investment in East Side schools, multiply the tax rate for that service by the assessed “value” for your property (marked 2 on sample) minus any exemptions (marked 3 on sample).

On the sample provided, the Total Assessed Value is $231,063, which would be reduced by the Homeowner’s Exemption of $7000 to $224,063. The $224,063 is multiplied by .000792, resulting in an annual investment total of $177.46.
Sample Property Tax Bill 2016 2017
If you would like more detailed information, you can request a secured tax bill detail from the Tax Collector’s Office.

If I rent, do I pay this tax?Top of Page

When you pay rent to the property owner, you are indirectly paying for the bond issue cost.  The rent you pay to the owner helps to cover the owner's costs, including the owner's payment of this tax as part of the property tax bill.

How does East Side minimize the property tax impact to homeowners?Top of Page

When market conditions allow, East Side refinances previously issued bonds in order to save taxpayers millions of dollars.  Under California law, refunding bonds are issued in order to achieve debt service savings, which results in reduction of ad valorem property taxes levied on taxpayers in the District.
Over recent years, East Side has taken advantage of an unprecedented low interest rate environment to refinance over $80 million of outstanding general obligation bonds, reducing the interest rates on the outstanding loans nearly one percentage point.  It also replaced existing Capital Appreciation Bonds with lower costing Current Interest Bonds.  In addition, the District requested a financial review from two national credit rating agencies.  Similar to a consumer, when a school district receives a better credit score, it has the ability to obtain better interest rates and ultimately save more money in the long run.  District officials met with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service to present the District’s profile; the result was a rating upgrade from Standard and Poor’s from an “A” to an “A+“, as well as confirmation of our very strong “Aa2” rating from Moody’s. 
These very strategic financial actions are saving taxpayers in excess of $22 million dollars.  The realization of savings began with the 2013-14 property tax rolls set by the County.

Can I file for a senior citizen's bond exemption to reduce my property taxes?Top of Page

When Bond Measures G, E, I (2012) and I (2014) were approved by voters, they did not include senior citizen exemptions.

How do bond measures help the District qualify for state matching funds?Top of Page

In order to obtain facilities funding grants from the State, the District must be able to provide the local matching funds required by the State.  Bond measures help the District to qualify for state matching funds that otherwise would not be available to our schools.  New construction grants must be matched equally by the District on a 50/50 basis, whereas modernization grants provide funding on a 60/40 basis (60% State, 40% District). 

East Side has been able to obtain $120 Million in State funding because local bond funds have allowed the District to provide the required matching funds.

What is Measure G?Top of Page

In March 2002, voters approved Measure G, a $298 million bond to repair, build and equip facilities at East Side schools, in order to “provide greater security and safety, relieve overcrowding, and improve technology”.  Measure G was passed with 69.9% of the vote.

Funds from Measure G were used for critical basic improvements at several of the District’s schools including new classrooms, health and safety improvements, and upgrades to school facilities, including athletic fields.  

In November 2011, the District's Board of Trustees approved the use of $32.5 of remaining Measure G funds for site improvement projects consistent with the original ballot language for Measure G.  These projects focus on improving safety and security and reducing operating costs by repairing and equipping aging sites and facilities, including:

  • Asphalt Repairs
  • Bleacher Replacement
  • Gym Floor Replacement
  • Door Replacement
  • Electrical and HVAC Upgrades
  • Carpet Replacement
  • Exterior Painting
  • Swimming Pool Upgrades
  • Roofing Replacement
  • Athletic Field Repairs
  • Track Replacement
  • Synthetic Turf Fields
  • Stadium Lighting
  • Security Cameras

What is Measure E?Top of Page

In February 2008, voters approved Measure E, a $349 million school facilities improvement bond.  Measure E was passed with 71.3% of the vote.
Building upon the success and momentum from Measure G, the District moved quickly to address the most immediate needs at each campus.  Measure E is improving computer/science labs, providing greater safety and security, repairing, equipping, constructing, and acquiring classrooms and facilities at all schools within the District, including comprehensive high schools, adult, alternative, and charter schools.  Measure E also provides the funds necessary to acquire property for new schools.  

What is Measure I (2012)?Top of Page

In November 2012, voters approved Measure I, a $120 million bond to continue the improvement of school facilities at District schools, as a continuation of the improvements funded by Measures G and E.  Measure I was passed with 71.5% of the vote.
Measure I funds are being used to continue to upgrade technology, improve security and safety, and repair, equip and construct classrooms and facilities at District high schools, adult, alternative, and charter schools.  Site administrators, along with District Facilities and Bond Program staff, engaged School Site Councils in an inclusive and collaborative planning process to develop Capital Improvement Plans using remaining Measure E and G allocations and new Measure I funds.  School Site Councils reviewed prior approved plans, identified their current needs as informed by the District Strategic Plan, and developed recommendations for how to best utilize their allocated capital funding.  The plans were reviewed and approved by the Superintendent’s Council, and approved by the Board of Trustees in early 2014.

Measure I will improve our schools by:

  • Constructing new classrooms to reduce student overcrowding
  • Upgrading computer labs throughout the District
  • Repairing and modernizing aging school classrooms and facilities
  • Modernizing libraries
  • Meeting restroom and classroom handicap accessibility (ADA) requirements
  • Installing cutting edge instructional technology infrastructure

What is technology Measure I (2014)?Top of Page

In November 2014, the community passed general obligation technology Bond Measure I with 67.16% of the vote. The 2014 Measure I is a completely new bond that is related only to Technology. The 2012 Measure I was a school facilities improvement bond overwhelmingly approved by voters.  Except for having the same randomly assigned measure letter, there is no connection between the two.
Measure I is a $113.2 million technology bond designed to help East Side High School District students keep pace with today's rapidly changing educational technology by providing a replenished source of funding for new technology every three to four years for the next two decades.  


If we want East Side District's children to compete for jobs of tomorrow - and if we want our community to attract and retain employers - our students must have access to computers and modern technology today in order to learn and be trained. Measure I provides the funding we need to help our students compete in the global economy, while protecting taxpayers.
Measure I will provide classrooms at all schools in the East Side Union High School District with up-to-date computers and educational technology along with increased student access to computers by installing secure district-wide internet access. It will also allow the District to meet the statewide technology requirements for testing and learning, while incorporating the latest 21st century innovations.
Unfortunately, state funding for classroom technology has not kept pace with the educational needs of our children. Measure I, which provides $113.2 million for the District over the next 18 years, solves this problem by providing an ongoing source of locally controlled, affordable funds for classroom computers, internet infrastructure and other technological innovations at every school in the District. 

How does technology Measure I (2014) protect taxpayers?Top of Page

By using a series of short-term, low-interest loans, more than 90 percent of the tax dollars from Measure I will go toward educational technology. (In a typical school bond, 50 cents or more of every tax dollar is used to pay interest). In addition to saving millions of dollars, taxpayers will not be making payments far into the future for outdated technology and equipment.

What is Measure Z?Top of Page

In November 2016, voters approved Measure Z, a $510,000,000 school facilities improvement bond.  Measure Z was passed with 72.39% of the vote.
Measure Z is designed as a G.O. Flex-Bond, the measure provides funding to continue the improvements and rehabilitation of Andrew P. Hill, Calero, Evergreen Valley, Foothill, Independence, James Lick, Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove, Piedmont Hills, Santa Teresa, Silver Creek, Yerba Buena and W.C. Overfelt high schools and alternative, adult and District charter schools.
Unlike typical G.O. bonds that are often repaid over 30 years, G.O. Flex-Bonds are issued as a series of short-term, low interest loans designed to match the District’s construction funding needs. This structure is designed to reduce borrowing costs by millions of dollars, resulting in a 90% reduction in interest payments. The concept is similar to the interest savings on a home mortgage when it is paid o in 15 years instead of 30.
The measure authorizes improvements throughout East Side Union High School District, including:
  • Improving and constructing science, technology and engineering classrooms
  • Removing hazardous materials from classrooms and schools
  • Upgrading fire/security systems for increased student safety
  • Improving disabled (ADA) accessibility
  • Replacing portable classrooms
  • Replacing deteriorating roofs and fixing leaky plumbing

How can I get more information or ask questions?Top of Page

For more information, please contact the ESUHSD Facilities Department at (408) 347-5100 or visit