Escondido school officials are debating whether to float a bond measure that would continue a series of upgrades to the district’s aging campuses.

The district engaged the consulting firm True North to survey likely voters about support for a school bond measure that could be placed on the ballot next year, either during the March primary election or the November general election.

About 58 percent of likely voters favored a potential school bond measure, while 30 percent opposed it, and 11 percent were unsure. That suggests a reasonable possibility of passing the bond, said Timothy McLarney, president of True North.

“For a bond measure to be successful, you need 55 percent,” he said.

The new measure would build upon work that began with Proposition E, the the $182 million bond program that voters passed in 2014 to improve safety, technology and infrastructure at the district’s 23 campuses. That measure addressed the most urgent problems in the district, which runs public elementary and middle schools in Escondido.

Since Escondido voters approved Proposition E, the district has installed security fences, added wireless technology, and fixed campus flooding at Orange Glen Elementary School. Last year, it renovated one of its oldest schools, Central Elementary School, in downtown Escondido, adding new kindergarten and preschool classrooms, a parent center, and perimeter fencing.

Mission Middle School got a new, two-story math and science building. Quantum Academy, an intermediate school, received three new classrooms and other amenities. And Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences is undergoing modernization.

The district still hopes to build another two-story building at Mission Middle, launch a second phase of improvements at Del Dios Academy, and finalize upgrades at Orange Glen Elementary and Central Elementary Schools.

To continue that work, the district considered placing a bond measure on the midterm ballot last year, but concluded there was not enough voter support to pass it at that time. This year, they decided to revisit a possible ballot item for the 2020 elections, and commissioned the survey as a barometer of voter interest.

Public education was cited as the highest spending priority among survey respondents, though they ranked repairing and upgrading aging school facilities as a lower priority, McLarney said.

“The number one issue with your voters was improving the quality of education,” he said. “At the end of the day, voters care less about buildings and facilities than what happens in those buildings and facilities.”

To connect school infrastructure to educational quality, he said, school officials would have to communicate how new and upgraded structures would improve learning outcomes. Items that resonated most with voters included the issue of equity between older and newer schools, the opportunity to advance science and technical education, and the need to keep up with basic maintenance, McLarney said.

“STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is wildly popular with voters,” he said. “They like the idea of investing in that.”

Voters also favored basic facilities repairs to keep existing schools in working order, he said.

“This isn’t the sexiest thing, but it’s something voters understand,” he said. “If you have older buildings, you have to take care of your roofs.”

Passing multiple bond measures on short order is not typical, but it isn’t without precedent. For instance, Grossmont Union High School District passed three bond measures totaling $819 million in 2004, 2008 and 2016. And San Diego Unified School District passed a $2.1 billion bond measure in 2008, followed by a $2.8 billion bond measure in 2012.