Repairing and Updating School Facilities
For decades, Downey Unified schools have enjoyed the reputation of being a part of a renowned school system and our students and teachers have been recognized for their achievements. Downey Unified’s motto is “Our Kids Deserve the Best,” and we are constantly improving to be the best we can be for the benefit of our students and our community.
While our Downey Unified schools are among the best in the region in terms of academic performance, most of them were built in the 1960’s or earlier, making them almost 70 years old. The District was able to modernize its middle schools with funds generated by Measure O, a bond measure approved by local voters in 2014. For a list of completed projects, visit: web.dusd.net/facilities. Today, the District is in the process of updating its Facilities Master Plan with a focus on its 13 elementary schools, identifying critical repairs and updates to many of these older classrooms and facilities.
We Want to Hear from You!
We want to ensure that every student has access to safe and modern classrooms. As we plan for the future, we welcome your input. Please share your feedback and priorities by completing the online survey below.
Local Funding to Address Phase II Improvements
To keep schools safe and up to date, the Downey Unified Board of Education is considering placing a local funding measure on the November 8, 2022, ballot. While no amount has been decided upon, the Board of Education is examining a potential bond to raise $504 million at $50 per $100,000 of assessed value, payable as long as bonds are outstanding. This means the average homeowner would pay about $194 a year to help fund needed repairs and updates mostly at our Downey Unified elementary schools.
If approved by local voters, this measure would provide funding for projects that include:
- Providing the classrooms, modern labs and career technical facilities with the educational technology needed to support high-quality instruction in math, science and engineering
- Install air conditioning in classrooms to keep temperatures in comfortable ranges on hot days
- Upgrading older schools to meet current health codes and building safety codes, and providing proper access for students with disabilities
- Removing asbestos, lead and other hazardous materials from schools and ensuring that all of our schools meet current earthquake safety standards
Fiscal Accountability and Local Control Required
The District’s tradition of fiscal responsibility and transparency would continue with a new local funding measure. All funds would be used to improve Downey Unified schools only, and no funds could be taken by the State. None of the funds could be used for administrators’ salaries, and independent oversight, annual audits and reports to the community would be required to ensure funds are spent as promised.
Phase I Improvements Complete
Downey Unified undertook an extensive Facilities Master Planning process in 2013-14, which identified critical repairs and updates needed at our District schools, particularly at our middle schools. The next year, our community approved Measure O with nearly 63% support. This bond measure has allowed us to complete the first phase of priority repairs and upgrades to our middle schools.
Facilities Master Plan – Phase II
The Facilities Master Planning (FMP) process began in October 2013 and was presented to the Board of Education on June 24, 2014. The FMP assessed the condition of existing school facilities and developed an understanding of anticipated long-range facility needs. Coupled with the educational program vision, a strategic FMP was developed for each site to address those needs and upgrade and improve aging campuses. Thanks to community support, the Measure O Bond was passed on November 4, 2014 by 60.51% of voters. The original 2014 FMP project value was much higher than the Measure O Bond limit, resulting in a good majority of projects being put on hold due to limited funding available at the time. The Measure O Bond funds are now nearing exhaustion after completing the four middle school construction projects and some smaller projects throughout the district. After reviewing the projects in the original 2014 FMP that were put on hold and reassessing the current facility needs, the District has worked through a continued effort to update the FMP to create a Phase II Draft Masterplan. This Phase II Draft Masterplan reflects the outstanding projects that still need to be completed across the District, with an emphasis on the remaining 14 elementary sites.