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1 of 3 school bonds set to pass

Coast Community College District looks like it won approval for $698 million, but Ocean View and Fountain Valley districts must now look for other options.

November 14, 2012|By Andrew Shortall

Only one of three school bond measures on this year's ballot that would raise property taxes for Huntington Beach residents is set to pass, with the Coast Community College District's Measure M holding 56.4% of the vote as of Tuesday afternoon.

The other two measures — N and P from the Fountain Valley and Ocean View districts, respectively — fall below the required 55% mark needed to approve bonds. Measure P has 53.3% of the vote and N holds 50.3%.

Results for measures M, N and P look much different than most district bond measures in Orange County.

Huntington Beach City Councilman Matthew Harper credited the local "no on new taxes" campaign for the close calls.

"You look at the way this election went across the state of California, and you see other [measures] that passed with a significant margin," Harper said. "These may be the only ones that just passed or came close to failure."

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The Coast Community College District's $698-million bond will build classrooms and laboratories, improve access to buildings for people with disabilities, install and repair safety and security equipment, fix leaking roofs and decaying walls and improve educational resources for active military and veterans at the district's three colleges: Golden West, Orange Coast and Coastline.

"I know everyone right now is looking at sources of revenue," Coast Community College Board of Trustees President Jim Moreno said. "The measure we're looking at invests in the future."

Moreno said the money would also help the district prepare for a wave of incoming students, with the California State University and University of California systems expected to increase tuition prices again in coming years.

"The CSUs' and UCs' prices are going up, and we're going to find more students coming to us," he said.

Harper opposes any increased property taxes and was against all three measures, particularly Measure M, because residents are still paying off the district's $370-million bond from 2002.

"I am surprised that Measure M is still hanging on, but I am not surprised that it's close," Harper said. "What they're asking for, when it's totaled up with their previous bond just about 10 years ago, is a billion dollars in borrowing."

Ocean View's Measure P also looks to modernize and update aging infrastructure, with most of the district's school sites being built in the 1960s, according to a district release.

Board of Trustees President Tracy Pellman said she's holding out hope for a last-minute comeback.

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