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Survey says proposed $152M school bond would pass in November election
Lincoln School preschool teacher Rosie Razo is shown last August preparing for the start of the school year. A poll showed voters overwhelmingly favor a new bond issue providing it goes to upgrading existing schools and not building new ones. - photo by HIME ROMERO

A $152 million bond measure has a good chance of being approved by voters in the November election.

That is the strong suggestion coming from the results of an independent survey of randomly selected eligible voters commissioned by the Manteca Unified School District. The results of the survey were presented to the Board of Trustees at their meeting Tuesday night.

According to the report from Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, an overwhelming number of voters surveyed showed “very strong support” for the proposed school bond with favorable percentages well above the 55 percent of votes that is needed for passage. Registering the highest approval came from voters age 30 to 39 with 85 percent of them “very supportive”, and those 18 to 29 age group showing “strong support.” The survey also suggested there is no gender gap in getting the bond measure approved with both men and women viewing it favorably at 73 percent. And whether the voters have kids at home, have kids attending schools in the district, or have no children at all did not affect the voters’ approval rate of 79 percent.

However, where a distinct issue particularly struck a chord among all those surveyed was in their wishes as to where the money should be expended. The overwhelming number of poll responders indicated that they would like the money used to repair old and existing school buildings and not to build new ones.

The 400 people contacted in the survey were all valid voters in the geographical area covered by Manteca Unified – Manteca, Lathrop, French Camp, Weston Ranch and surrounding unincorporated county areas – whose were picked from San Joaquin County voter files.

When Trustee Manuel Medeiros expressed surprise at the number of voters polled by asking, “That’s all?” the representative from the independent company commissioned to conduct the survey explained that the figure is a standard number used for this purpose, and that anything higher than that would not significantly affect the results or change the margin of error.

Karen Pearsall, who was among the first members of the $64 million Measure M Oversight Committee approved by the voters in 2004, asked if the survey responders were informed that this proposed $152 million bond was on top of that earlier bond that the district is still paying for. The survey representatives responded by saying that it was mentioned during the 20-minute long telephone calls. She also commented that the focus of this bond be just on the renovations of old school buildings and “don’t even mention new projects.

“I think this is a valuable survey only if you interpret what they (the voters surveyed) say,” she added.

The survey was conducted on May 16-24.

The recommendation and final decision to proceed with the bond measure in the November 2014 elections will come before the board at a later meeting.