The vast majority of school construction is funded differently than other programs. Funding for major projects - such as new classrooms, performing arts centers, fields and technology - is generated by selling general obligation bonds.
Public school districts like San Juan Unified must gain public approval in a general election in order to sell bonds, which are backed by property tax assessments on homeowners. By law, bond dollars must be spent on construction or activities directly related to construction. Bonds cannot be used to pay for teacher salaries (except in a rare situation where a teacher may work limited hours outside of their normal contract on a construction-related activity), classroom supplies, or any other materials that are considered "consumable."
Voters in San Juan Unified have generously approved three different bonds in the past two decades:
- Measure S - $157 million in 1998
- Measure J - $350 million in 2002
- Measure N - $350 million in 2012
- Measure P - $750 million in 2016
Measures S has been fully allocated towards significant school improvements across the district. Measures J and N are currently being used to help address $2.4 billion in needs that have been identified in the district's Facilities Master Plan.
San Juan Unified has assigned a Citizens Oversight Committee
comprised of community representatives to ensure bond expenditures are being spent properly.