Mercury News: Oakland schools bond, Measure J, is winning

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November 7, 2012
By Katy Murphy

A $475 million Oakland school facilities bond measure received overwhelming voter support on Tuesday. Returns posted early Wednesday morning showed Measure J far above the 55 percent threshold.

For homeowners, this will mean a property tax increase of up to $60 per $100,000 in assessed property value. The rate in the initial years is estimated to be lower, roughly $40 per $100,000.

Oakland Unified has said it will spend the money on improving the seismic safety of its buildings, new and upgraded kitchens, science labs, technology, energy efficiency and other infrastructure. The district has also identified about 10 schools to receive major improvements, including Fremont High School in East Oakland, which would replace its portable classrooms with a new structure.

Some of the other schools on the list include Glenview, Greenleaf, Sankofa and Sobrante Park elementary schools, Roosevelt and Madison middle schools and McClymonds High School.

Those who have pushed for more healthful school food have rallied around the measure, which would fund the construction of a central commissary and allow more schools to serve food made from scratch. In addition to those families, more than 40 students have spent a recent Saturday -- or, in some cases, five -- going door to door, trying to convince likely voters to say 'yes' to Measure J.

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