School district hires new manager of facilities and planning
District also receives improved credit rating
–In November 2016, the Paso Robles community approved a $95 million general obligation bond to renovate schools in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD). Progress continues on projects to improve safety, add space, and expand programs.
A Citizens’ Oversight Committee was formed in February with the charge to actively review and report on the expenditure of taxpayer money for school construction in accordance with voter-approved projects. Measure M funds will be spent according to the PRJUSD Facilities Master Plan (FMP) which was approved by the Board of Trustees before the election.
In July, PRJUSD welcomed Cheryl Mollan to serve as the Manager of Facilities and Planning. Mollan is a licensed architect and spent the last 13 years as a construction manager at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her background is in sustainability and environmentally-responsible design. She welcomes the opportunity to enhance educational opportunities in her own community as both of her daughters attended Lewis Middle School and Paso Robles High School. Says Chris Williams, PRJUSD Superintendent, “We are extremely excited to bring her on board. Her experience and expertise are unparalleled.”
Mollan says, “Expect to see physical changes at our schools within the next two years.” Currently, information is being gathered through topographical surveys and building assessments, resources are being analyzed, and weekly meetings and site visits are being held with the architect. As per the FMP, the focus of the first phase will be improvements and modernization at Georgia Brown Elementary and the Arts Academy at Bauer Speck.
Also included in the first phase is construction of a community aquatics complex at Paso Robles High School. And just this past week, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded PRJUSD’s general obligation bond rating from A1 to Aa3, which will save local taxpayer money by lowering interest costs for district bonds. According to Moody’s report, the upgraded rating reflects the improved financial position and reserve levels of the district. PRJUSD has maintained several years of budget surpluses in addition to a strong, diverse, and growing local economy and tax base.
“This rating upgrade is a recognition of our efforts and it will directly benefit taxpayers as we begin to issue Measure M bonds next year,” says Field Gibson, President of the PRJUSD Board of Trustees, who was elected to the Board in November 2010. The higher bond rating from Moody’s will result in lower interest costs for PRJUSD bonds, similar to having a higher consumer credit score.
“Thanks to the support of our community, we are able to enhance and improve our students’ learning environment,” said Williams. “At the same time, we have aligned our budget to support students’ needs and worked judiciously to return the district to solid financial footing. Our upgraded bond rating affirms the prudent fiscal policies set by the board and the diligent, ongoing efforts of our staff.”
PRJUSD will again be hosting its annual workshop for local businesses titled “Doing Business with PRJUSD.” Two sessions will be offered: Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. or Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. Both workshops are free and will be held at the Support Services Facility located at 2910 Union Road.
PRJUSD is a major purchaser of various goods and services within the district. The needs of the district are quite diverse and include items such as basic instructional materials, office supplies, and custodial supplies. The district also seeks out contractors for services such as school building repair, renovation, and construction. The presenters will discuss the different types of services and products needed and how to become a vendor or licensed contractor in the district.