Tulare County Voters Face Several Bond Measures

February 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
It's always a difficult question for voters; balancing the need for more money for schools, with higher taxes or bond measures.It's a question some South Valley voters will have to wrestle with on Tuesday.

Administrators in four Tulare County school districts are backing separate bond measures that would bring in millions to improve and renovate school facilities.

On the ballot for voters in the Lindsay Unified School District is measure "B" a nearly $21-million dollar bond aimed at easing overcrowding. "This school that we're at is Jefferson Elementary. This school originally was designed and built for 350 students. Currently we have a little more than 700 students in our facility," said Jihad Hemaidan Business Manager for Lindsay Unified.

33 students cram into this small 4th grade classroom. The school has to have 5 lunch periods so every student has enough room to eat. The bond money would be used to build a brand new high school and elementary school.

People in the Woodlake High School District will be voting on measure "C" which would provide $3-million dollars in grants to update not only academic but athletic facilities, as well. "We will add new classrooms; we will add an all-weather track on our existing field. Now, it's nothing but mud because of the rain," said Richard Rochin, a Woodlake High School Unified Trustee. Measure "C" would also replace these decades-old portable classrooms and add more sports fields.

Measure "D" will provide $6.4-million dollars in bonds to the Exeter Union Elementary School District. Most of the money will be used to modernize and expand Wilson Middle School, which is more than 60 years old. School officials hope to install new lockers, update physical education facilities and build a bigger multi-purpose room so students can finally see a play, listen to an assembly and eat lunch in a room that can accommodate them.

Renee Whitson, Superintendent of Exeter Unified said, "Our biggest concern is growth and equity um we want excellent facilities to match the standards for our students." The bond will also provide money to update Lincoln Elementary School.

Lastly, Tipton Elementary School District hopes enough voters will pass measure "E," a $3.1-million dollar bond. The money would be used to build a large multi-purpose facility and therefore create more room for classrooms. The school district didn't get enough votes to pass a similar measure last year and says this small district deserves the same types of facilities as other, larger school districts.

Michael Salcido, the Tipton Elementary School District Superintendent said, "By Measure E it allows us to move forward to have the children and the people of Tipton to have a nice facility and have nice function."

All school officials say they're ready to begin renovations by this spring. The measures must pass with at least 55% of the vote. The bonds mean a $30 per year tax increase for every $100,000 of property value.


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