Misunderstanding means missed bond opportunity

CONSTRUCTION-johnson-center
Construction of the Johnson Center in 2020. Julian Reynoso / el Don

An Orange County superior court judge ruled in favor of the Registrar of Voters after the district attempted to sue to have a proposed bond placed on the upcoming ballot.

The $420 million bond will not be voted on this November after the board failed to meet election code deadlines. Instead, the request was submitted based on educational codes, which would have given them an extra month. 

If approved by voters, the bond would have increased local property taxes to bring facility upgrades that would have supported student programs such as welding, automotive and engineering technology, a new parking structure and the demolition of Russell Hall to put in a student drop-off area at Santa Ana College. Additionally, it would have funded upgrades and repairs to the Centennial Education Center and Santiago Canyon College.

However, the Orange County Registrar of Voters couldn’t place the bond in time for the midterms.  In an effort to increase the chances of it passing, the district chose to create a new “school facilities improvement district”, a special district that would have redrawn the boundaries for the area of residents eligible to vote on the bond. Unfortunately, the deadline to submit those type of changes was a month earlier. 

“When we received it, we informed the district that any jurisdictional boundary change that they made, and we considered the creation of the school facilities improvement district to be a jurisdictional boundary change, was due to the Registrar of Voters office by July 6, and so we could not place the bond measure…for the Nov. 8th general election.” Said Bob Page,  Orange County Registrar. The earlier deadline is to give the Registrar time to notify affected voters of the changes and provide them with the necessary information.

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Since the bond is not on this November’s ballot, the district will go for the bond in 2024 instead. They plan to have more outreach to the community so they can show residents the needs of the colleges for both SAC and SCC. 

“The responsibility is on us to go out to the community and work with them. And for us to think that they’re just going to love us eventually, no, that’s not real life. So that means we have to leave our offices…The ball is in our court we got to go out and do it, we can’t just think that the voter is going to change a year from today,” said district Chancellor Marvin Martinez.

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