Update: Paso Robles school board considering bond issue
Update posted Jan. 18, 3:30 p.m.
–Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent Chris Williams has provided additional details about the improvement projects included in the facilities master plan.
The school board of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District voted unanimously on Oct. 30 to invest in student success through a Capital Facilities and Curricular Enhancement Expenditure Plan, Williams said. The development of the expenditure plan began seven months ago with an ad hoc committee consisting of board members, staff, community members, and district representatives. The focus of the committee was to assess the current use of energy and water while developing an expenditure plan that will increase student opportunities, provide additional classroom support, generate revenues while reducing cost, and expand partnerships with city and community organizations. The funds from this plan will go toward improvements to existing facilities and programs as well as to establish new initiatives and building projects throughout the district.
The plan consists of a new universal preschool and additional before/after school programs. The Adult Learning Transitional Center will be relocated to a facility to better model independent living skills and increase articulation with community agencies. Other curricular investments include library upgrades, intervention support, and instructional materials. Funding will also increase support of dual immersion, educational technology, and visual and performing arts, according to Williams.
Facilities upgrades will begin with projects such as safety fencing, new carpet, fresh paint, solar project, and general maintenance and repairs at various school sites. The addition of four synthetic turf fields at War Memorial, Lewis Middle, and the high school will save the city 11.7 million gallons of water per year while also saving the district money, according to Williams. The new turf fields will give the district the ability to host athletic, band, and community events year round. The current track and field space will be updated at the high school allowing the district to host CIF events. The Culinary Arts Center will also be completely remodeled to expand their services to the community.
“This plan will have a tremendous impact in shaping our future and providing infinite support for the success of our students, staff, and community,” said Williams. Projects are underway now with many scheduled to be completed before the start of the 2016-17 school year.
*The original story was also corrected to state that funds for the projects will be coming from property tax, rather than sales tax, if approved by voters.
Original story posted Jan. 18
Officials will hear reports on facilities projects, as well as plans for the future
–The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board of trustees received a report at a workshop with district staff concerning where the district is on its facilities master plan and what is needed to complete it, according to Superintendent Chris Williams.
“We’re in the process of completing our facilities master plan,” Williams said, adding that it will be finished in March.
Currently, the district has several major maintenance projects including implementing a universal preschool, installing synthetic turf, installing new parking lots, among others. Current projects total $15 million.
The workshop, Williams said, included information on what the board and district would have to do if the board decides to go ahead with a bond measure. Before the school district can get funds for facilities, it must take the issue to the voters to increase local property tax.
Before district staff will know whether or not a bond is needed to fund the necessary facility improvements, it first must identify what programs it wants to start or further develop and determine if the current facilities are adequate or what is needed. It’s essentially performing a feasibility update.
“If you’re looking at how the specs of your house need to change, look at the needs of your family,” Williams said “When you start all-new program implementations, you look at how you’re rolling it out and you assess your facilities.”
In the meantime, district staff is assessing each school. Williams is updating the board members on the study at meetings Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 23. On Saturday, March 5, the board will hold another workshop to hear updates on the facilities master plan. At the board meeting on Tuesday, March 8, staff will present the next steps to the board.
“This year from last year, we’ve created a lot of new programs for our students,” Williams said.
The board meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. A closed session is held at 5:30 p.m.and is followed the general session at 6 p.m., which is open to the public. The board is made up of President Field Gibson, Clerk Joel Peterson, Chris Bausch, Tim Gearhart, Dr. Kathleen Hall, Dave Lambert and Joan Summers.