Students and staff in Oakland Unified School District schools may soon see improvements at their campuses following the approval by voters Tuesday of Measure Y, early election results show.

More than 77% of voters said “yes” to the measure, which allows the district to issue $735 million in bonds to pay for the improvements. About 23% of voters said “no” to the measure.

“The funds will mean our team will be able to address overdue issues at numerous schools and facilities, including partial or complete rebuilding of sites, adding new kitchens or multipurpose rooms and district wide technology improvements,” OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel said in a letter Wednesday to the school community.

The bonds will increase annual taxes for the average homeowner by about $60 per $100,000 in assessed value of their home. That’s estimated to raise $48.5 million a year for 30 years.

“The funds will mean our team will be able to address overdue issues at numerous schools and facilities. …”

Kyla Johnson-Trammel, OUSD superintendent

In total, it will cost taxpayers $1.455 billion for the repairs because of the $720 million in finance charges that will have to be paid on the bonds.

For that reason and others, the Alameda County Taxpayers Association argued vehemently against Measure Y. Members of the association said parcel taxes are a better way to finance minor improvements, while bonds should be used to pay for large projects such as new schools.

But proponents said that the money will be spent on “major repairs to fix deteriorating classrooms, bathrooms, plumbing, potentially faulty electrical systems, heating and air conditioning and leaky roofs.”

It is also expected to be used to “upgrade technology for distance learning and revamp classrooms and facilities to help keep children socially distanced during times of pandemic,” proponents said.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.