Lemoore Elementary District asks public for $26 million via Measure D bond measure

By Ed Martin, Editor

Citing growing pains and the need to modernize its schools, the Lemoore Union Elementary School District has placed a $26-million – Measure D on the November 6, 2018 ballot – bond measure the district says is needed to “address the needs of the student population through modernization and renovation” as it copes with its future needs.

The Lemoore Union Elementary School District has placed a $26 million bond measure on the November ballot needed to address the needs of a growing student population.
The Lemoore Union Elementary School District has placed a $26 million bond measure on the November ballot needed to address the needs of a growing student population.

The five-member board of trustees voted unanimously at its July 17 meeting – following extensive research, a community survey, and public feedback – to place the measure on the ballot.

The school’s board of trustees took careful steps as members considered approving the measure, including soliciting public input that helped convince the board that a bond could pass. “I think the public mood is optimistic for Measure D,” said the Lemoore Union Elementary School District Superintendent Cheryl Hunt. “Other local educational agencies have been successful in the recent past, and we believe our community will support the elementary district as well.”

Hunt said that Lemoore voters have never passed a bond measure in support of the elementary school district. “We have never passed a school bond measure,” she said. “The last time the District tried a bond was in 2004. We are looking forward to 2018 being a first for LUESD.”

Lemoore Elementary District asks public for $26 million via Measure D bond measure

A campaign committee has been organized to assist the LUESD in making the public more aware of the need for modernizing and providing additional space for housing a growing student population.

The elementary district’s proposed bond measure comes on the heels of a successful effort by the Lemoore Union High School District, which in 2016 easily passed a $24 million bond measure to renovate the 118-year-old school. The high school’s bond proceeds will update facilities and make repairs to existing classrooms and buildings.

The high school’s bond measure passed with 63 percent of the vote. It needed just 55 percent to pass. The district is currently in the process of renovating its campus, its most visible project being Tiger Stadium's new bathrooms, concessions, and press box.

The local elementary school district, with an enrollment of 3,320 students currently maintains seven schools: Liberty Middle School, University Charter School (on the West Hills College Lemoore Campus), Bridges Academy, Lemoore Elementary, Meadow Lane Elementary, P.W. Engvall, and Cinnamon Elementary School.

Both Liberty Middle School and University Charter School have been recognized as Honor Roll Schools by the Campaign for Business and Educational Excellence. Liberty earned the State and National Schools to Watch award, recognizing the local school as high performing.

Proceeds from the bond measure will fund the renovation of existing classrooms and school facilities and construction of new buildings and classrooms. The loan repayment comes from a tax on all taxable property – residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial, all located within the district’s boundaries.

Included in the bond measure is the construction of a new elementary school and money to replacing outdated heating and air conditioning systems and install new lighting systems to create a more energy efficient district. Included in the long-term goals are safety and handicapped improvements, and renovating and repairing the interiors and exteriors of outdated classrooms and restrooms. The district also plans to replace temporary portables with permanent classes.

According to school officials, the bond measure is needed to prevent the deterioration of its existing campuses. If it doesn’t pass, school officials say money used for classroom instruction “will be required to make critical safety repairs and improvements at each school. Major repairs may have to be postponed.

Hunt told The Leader that the district has replaced some portable classrooms and with Proposition 39 funding managed to complete some energy efficient lighting throughout the school district. But she said more was needed. “However, as our facilities age and the community grows, our needs have surpassed what we can afford,” she said.

She said that the recently completed facility master plan made it clear that community support for a bond measure would be necessary. Hunt stated that the district’s four K-6 sites are at or above their intended capacities, and “we cannot continue to add portable classrooms as a permanent solution. A new school is necessary in addition to removing portables and replacing them with permanent structures.”

With those thoughts in mind, members of the board of trustees approved a community survey last spring and apparently liked the results, prompting them to place the measure on the year’s ballot.

Measure D will cost property owners about $30 per $100,000 of assessed value. Assessed valuations are the value placed on the property by Kings County and are lower than market values.

Part of the overall measure includes an oversight committee of independent citizens to manage the bond funds. Also, there will be annual audits, and no money can be used for teacher or administrative salaries.

Comments powered by Disqus