Modesto City Schools: Updating Aging Elementary and Junior High Schools

The Facts About Measures D and E

Modesto City Schools (MCS) provides a rigorous instructional program that helps students graduate on time, college and career ready, with the knowledge, abilities and character traits needed to thrive in today’s world.


The MCS Board of Education voted to place Measures D and E, a $131 million package of school improvement bond measures, on the November 2018 ballot to repair and upgrade our aging elementary and junior high school education facilities.

The purpose of this story is to provide you and the rest of the community with the facts regarding Measures D and E - like how they would be funded, what they'll be used for, and when and how you can vote.

About Measures D and E

Measures D and E would be used to repair and upgrade our aging school facilities. The annual cost of these measures would not exceed $50 per $100,000 in assessed value per year - meaning the owner of a property assessed at $140,000 would pay $70 per year. More information regarding general obligation bonds is available here.

All funds from these measures would benefit local schools, be controlled locally, and could not be taken away by the state. The money is limited to facility expenses, like:

  • Improving fire, emergency, lighting and security camera systems

  • Improving accessibility for students with disabilities

  • Equipping classrooms and science labs with modern learning technology to prepare students for 21st-century jobs

  • Repairing and update outdated classrooms and science labs to protect the quality of academic instruction in core subjects like math, science, reading and writing

  • Updating aging cafeterias, restrooms, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems

  • Repairing leaking roofs

The money cannot be used for operating expenses or increasing teacher or administrator salaries, benefits, or pensions.

You may be surprised to hear that the state provides very limited funding for school-facility upgrades. Most state funding requires local matching funds. If Measures D and E pass, MCS would qualify for approximately $85 million in matching state dollars. These measures require independent citizens’ oversight and reports to the community to ensure funds are spent as promised.

If the measures do not pass, the state's matching funds will go to other school districts.

Why the MCS Board of Education Voted to Place Measures D and E on the November Ballot

Our Education Facilities are Aging

The Modesto City Elementary School District consists of 22 elementary schools and four junior high schools. The schools were built between 1929 and 1992, with the oldest school building still serving students today. To accommodate enrollment growth during the years following construction, from 1964-2018 the District added, and is still utilizing, approximately 350 portable buildings.

Although we’re proud of the opportunities provided to all students in MCS, many of our schools are over 50 years old and it has been nearly 20 years since the last investment in upgrades to our school facilities. Our aging education facilities need repairs and upgrades to meet modern academic and safety standards.

Our Education Facilities are Lagging Behind Current Standards

Science classroom

Updates are needed to improve campus and student security, including lighting, security cameras and fencing to control access to all campuses.

Our schools also need upgrades and technology improvements to meet current educational standards and provide up-to-date classrooms for core academics.

Supporting 21st-century learning in Modesto schools will help prepare students to succeed in high school, college and careers.

The Costs of our Work Orders are Rising

We have operational dollars to repair but not replace facilities. Therefore, regular maintenance is one of the ways we extend the lifecycle of our educational facilities.

Through an aggressive work order system, the District has been able to maintain permanent school buildings as old as 1929, and portable buildings as old as 1964, but it comes at a cost. In the last five years, we spent over $1 million dollars each year in maintenance work order requests.

Some classroom buildings have exceeded their useful life, and Measures D and E would provide the necessary funding to replace and modernize the aging school facilities.

When and How Can I Vote?

The MCS Board of Trustees voted to place Measures D and E on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Each measure needs to be supported by 55% of those who vote in order to pass. You can register to vote at

Frequently Asked Questions

To read more about Measures D and E and how our schools are funded please click here to access our FAQ.

For more information, please contact the Public Information Office by calling (209) 574-1500.

As we continue to plan for the future of MCS schools, we want to hear from you.

For more information, please contact the Public Information Office by calling (209) 574-1500.