Arrowhead High School’s $8.5 million referendum passes by 69 votes

Voters in the Arrowhead Union High School District on Tuesday passed an $8.5 million referendum that will help the district address its highest prioritized needs of technology, facility and site infrastructure improvements.

Voters narrowly approved the referendum with 50.2% of the vote (11,511 votes), while 49.8% (11,442) were against it, according to unofficial results. 

The referendum will provide $1.7 million per year for five years totaling $8.5 million to replace the oldest, leaking areas of roofing; replace and repair the most aging air handling units for heating and air conditioning; update technology infrastructure for safety and up-to-date usage; update or repair building structures; repair or replace parking lots/roadways and improve stormwater management systems, according to the district.

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“On behalf of the Arrowhead Union High School Board, we thank the community for approving this infrastructure referendum question, and making Arrowhead High School a priority,” said Arrowhead School Board President Bob Rosch in a prepared statement. “We will continue our work to manage taxpayers’ dollars responsibly while supporting quality education and a safe campus for students.”

Facility projects are projected for each year, with most work being targeted for summers to reduce interruptions to academic schedules. In the coming months the district will initiate project design processes and schedule this spring/summer’s project work, the district’s statement said. 

“We are grateful for the support of the Arrowhead community for our high school’s students, educational programs, and assistance in funding necessary campus infrastructure improvements,” said Arrowhead Superintendent Laura Myrah in the district’s statement.

The district’s administration and school board is expected to begin post-referendum planning during the board’s Nov. 11 meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the district office.

District voters had turned down the last two referendums presented to them. The most recent was in April 2017, when voters rejected a $36.68 million referendum that would have been used for campus maintenance improvements and upgrades in instructional areas.

Voters also turned down a $64.7 million referendum in November 2016 that would have paid for classroom and instructional renovations, along with a new swimming pool and expanded auditorium.

Tax impact

The referendum carries a tax impact of 25 cents per $1,000 of property value, an amount the district said would maintain the 1999 referendum debt payment amount for another five years.

A resident with a $300,000 home would pay $75 per year toward the referendum. That is just part of the total tax rate for the school district, however.

Arrowhead’s current 2019-20 tax rate of $2.88 per $1,000 of property value will drop to $2.73 per $1,000 of property value for the 2020-21 school year since the referendum passed. If the referendum had failed, the 2020-21 district tax rate would have been $2.48 per $1,000 of property value. 

The district’s rationale for a referendum

The district’s voters last passed a referendum in 1999. Since then, the district said the school’s basic building, site and technology infrastructure has aged and become outdated.

The district said in the last 12 years, it has completed $16.4 million in capital projects from its operating budget, an average of about $1.4 million per year. As funds decrease from the district’s state and federal sources, the district said it cannot continue to pay for the increasing number of necessary infrastructure improvements without directly affecting the budget allocated to instructional programs and services for students.

The 1999 referendum was for 20 years with a $1.7 million repayment expense per year. The last payment on that loan was made in March.


Yes 11,511

No 11,442

Contact Alec Johnson at (262) 875-9469 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @AlecJohnson12.

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