Pleasanton Unified School District voters will be asked to authorize bond sales up to $323 million for school improvements in the March 3, 2020 election.

At least 55% of the votes cast must be in favor of the bond sale for it to pass. Polling in the district showed that 57% would OK a $323 million bond.

The bonds would not be sold all at once, but over the years to finance construction projects as they are ready. Bond sales will also consider timing intended to pay the lowest interest rates, which would save the district money.

The district's five trustees made their unanimous decision at their Nov. 12 meeting, with Trustee Mark Miller attending electronically from out of state.

The improvements will pay to upgrade classrooms and other facilities, and to support anticipated enrollment growth. Other projects include revamping physical plants for HVAC systems and those that boost access for students with disabilities.

Parents whose students are active with bands and athletics urged the board to create a project priority list that would include upgrading gyms. Several of them said the Amador gym was in deplorable condition, and that it failed to keep up with the high quality of the programs presented there. One parent drew applause when she said, “We’ve got to get it on the ballot, so we can vote for it.”

Trustee Steve Maher said he has been in the district for more than 40 years, when he started on staff at Fairlands Elementary School. He has since served at various schools as an administrator. He coached at Foothill High School 15 years ago, and the gym has become worse over the years, he said.

“I go to Dublin. I look at their Fine Arts building,” he said. “I think, ‘Holy Mackerel,’ what is going on in our district? I see nice gyms, and wonder how come they have a nice gym, and we don’t? We need to act. I think $323 million is just a drop in the bucket.”

Miller said that, at $323 million, the list of projects is realistic. The district can go from “scraping by” to “moving our schools into world class,” he said.

Trustee Joan Laursen said that the first sale of bonds under measure I-1, which was approved by voters in 2016, fell short of funding such things as gyms, because of rising construction costs. But she was confident that voters will approve the new bond, since they understand what it takes to bring facilities up to current standards.