SAN PABLO (AP) — Lake Elementary School, just a half-hour drive northeast of San Francisco, is a relic from 1957.
Much of the school’s scuffed flooring is old linoleum that contains asbestos, as does the insulation around the school’s hulking old steel furnace where grey duct tape is wrapped around rusting pipes.
“The heating system is literally held together by duct tape. Exposed wires are taped together across the hallway ceilings,” said Tony Wold, associate superintendent for the West Contra Costa Unified School District in the San Francisco Bay Area. “The roofs are dropping and need repairs. Is this the safest environment for students?”
Proposition 13, the only statewide measure on the March 3 ballot, would create a $15 billion bond to build, repair and modernize schools, from kindergarten through public colleges and universities.
Many school districts, like West Contra Costa, say they do not receive adequate state funding to make repairs and fully modernize their buildings, leading to a “Band-Aid approach” of repairs atop repairs and deferred maintenance that was on full view during a recent tour of Lake elementary in San Pablo.
Most of the money from the proposed bond — $9 billion — would go to K-12 schools, with priority given to addressing health and safety concerns, including earthquake risks and removing toxic mold and asbestos from aging classrooms and lead from drinking water.