What is Measure K?
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 1960s 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. See an overview of completed projects. In 2022, the District worked diligently to update 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.
Continuing the Great Work …
From Measure O (Middle Schools) into Measure K (Elementary Schools)
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 13 elementary sites.
Local Funding to Address Phase II Improvements
To keep schools safe and up to date, the Downey Unified Board of Trustees voted unanimously to place Measure K on the November 8, 2022 ballot, which passed with over 58% support from our community. Measure K will provide $504 million in locally controlled funding to update our neighborhood schools and cost approximately 5¢ per $100 of assessed value (not market value) annually, while bonds are outstanding— or about $194 a year for a typical single-family home, which is a little over $16 a month.
Measure K will provide funding for projects that include:
- Improve student safety and campus security systems
- Provide 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
- Upgrade older schools to meet current health codes and building safety codes and provide proper access for students with disabilities
- Create modern, multi-use classrooms in elementary schools to support hands-on science instruction and learning-by-doing
- Remove asbestos, lead and other hazardous materials from schools and ensure all schools meet current earthquake safety standards
Measure K: Fiscal Accountability & Local Control Built In
The District’s tradition of fiscal responsibility and transparency will continue with Measure K. All funds will be used to improve Downey Unified schools only, and no funds can be taken by the State. None of the funds can be used for administrators’ salaries. A project list detailing how the money would be used, a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and independent audits are 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.