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LVJUSD to explore surplus properties to fund facilities projects after bond measure fails

Also: District to continue negotiation talks with teachers union
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The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District is looking to determine alternative funding sources following the defeat of the $450 million Measure G bond in the Nov. 8 general election.

At the Jan. 17 Board of Education meeting, the trustees unanimously approved Superintendent Chris Van Schaack's recommendation for staff to reactivate the Property Advisory Committee to explore resource property for possible capital project funding.

Resource property – or surplus property – refers to facilities owned by the district that are being underutilized or not used for their intended purpose that could potentially be sold.

The Property Group Advisory Committee would be tasked with identifying those properties and bringing their findings back to the school board for consideration. 

LVJUSD's Facilities Master Plan identified a number of significant capital improvement needs within the district. While multiple funding or revenue sources were cited as part of that plan, bond measures are typically one of the most effective ways to meet local facilities needs which is what led the board to place Measure G on the November ballot as part of the capital funding plan, according to district staff's agenda report.

With 50.12% Yes votes, the measure fell short of reaching the 55%-plus threshold it needed to pass, according to the official certified election results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office.

While there was little discussion among the board related to reactivating the Property Advisory Committee, Board President Craig Bueno addressed the status of Measure G later on in the meeting after a presentation reviewing the latest clean audit of the district's Measure J bond, which was approved by voters in 2016 and has been used to fund several district projects including the new athletic facilities at Livermore and Granada High schools.

"The community has supported the bond measures here in Livermore for years so we know that the community has a high level of trust," Bueno said.

He continued, "It was unfortunate that the last one didn't pass but I think that has way more to do with the economy than it does any trust issues and this should hopefully clarify that and keep that clear moving forward that despite managing through the middle of a pandemic – where there are so many variables in funding and cost variation – that the expenditures were aligned with the ballot language. To me, that is a significant accomplishment. Some may call that into question but I think that might be limited to a few detractors. I think that we can rest soundly knowing that the community has a high level of trust and that it's been independently verified once again."

The school board also approved sunshine items proposed by the district during Tuesday night's meeting related to contract negotiations with the Livermore Education Association (LEA).

Currently, LVJUSD and LEA are in negotiations regarding the contract for the 2022-23 school year following LEA's recent request for a 10.9% ongoing salary increase. The teachers union has expressed that in order to attract new teachers and retain the existing ones, their compensation needs to be improved before the hiring season begins around March.

"You're probably thinking why are we bringing up stuff about opening negotiations when we're already in the process of negotiations and the reason is because we are currently in negotiations regarding the 22-23 school year but in order to open negotiations for 23-24 and beyond, the law requires that we first communicate to the Livermore community the sorts of things that we plan to talk about and that's called sun shining," Van Schaack said.

Both organizations -- the district and LEA -- proposed contract re-openers for a successor agreement effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026.

In addition to approving the sunshine items from the district, the board acknowledged and accepted the sunshine letter and proposal on the same topic from LEA.

Dozens of LEA members were present at the start of the meeting in a show of solidarity while a few shared public comments about the need for increased teacher compensation as Livermore ranks significantly below other neighboring districts. While those comments were specific to the ongoing discussions for the 2022-23 school year, they were relevant to the later discussion on the sunshine items as any decision made to increase compensation for the current school year could – and likely will – impact future years. 

"As we heard tonight, one of the concerns is developing a package moving forward that is attractive. In order to do that, we wanted to open up the 23-24 and beyond to put together perhaps a multi-year deal," Van Schaack said. 

The district's next negotiation session with LEA for the 2022-23 school year contract is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 25).


Cierra Bailey

About the Author: Cierra Bailey

Cierra started as an editorial intern with the Pleasanton Weekly in 2014. After pursuing opportunities in digital and broadcast media and attending graduate school at Syracuse University, she’s back as the editor of the Vine.
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