Rancho San Joaquin Middle School will be upgraded to meet the needs of future education using the Measure E bond funding.
Rancho San Joaquin Middle School will be upgraded to meet the needs of future education using the Measure E bond funding.

Irvine public schools get $270 million makeover

Twenty-eight of the district's schools are being upgraded with funding from Measure E

by TOMOYA SHIMURA

Irvine public schools are in the midst of a $270 million makeover to ensure all students, not just those in newer neighborhoods, have access to the latest learning tools and environment.

Twenty-eight of the Irvine Unified School District’s 40 schools will be upgraded with funding from the Measure E bond voters passed in 2016. Students will benefit from modernized classrooms and science labs, high school theaters, collaborative learning spaces and safety improvements, according to the district.

“Measure E allows the district to bring all of our schools up to 21st-century technology and learning environment,” said John Fogarty, Irvine Unified’s assistant superintendent of business services.

 

Education at the heart of community

Irvine Unified already is among the best school districts in the nation, boasting the highest average SAT scores in Orange County. Education has been a core element of Irvine’s Master Plan, which started with a concept of building a city around a university.

“These important upgrades are helping to ensure that all of our more than 35,000 students have access to state-of-the-art instructional technology and learning environments to prepare them for college and careers,” Irvine Unified Superintendent Terry Walker said. “Bringing all schools up to a similar standard not only supports educational equity for all students, but it protects the outstanding quality of education for which IUSD schools are known, helping to keep home values strong across the district.”

This past summer, construction kicked off at 16 schools.

They include Brywood Elementary School, which will add a music classroom building, design and innovation labs, and an audio and visual system. Flexible furniture will allow teachers to arrange classrooms based on tasks rather than having desks in rows, Fogarty said.

A citizens oversight committee appointed by Irvine Unified’s board of education is monitoring to make sure the district is using the bond money as initially intended.