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Officials: Selma, Kingsburg need schools bond
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Officials: Selma, Kingsburg need schools bond

November ballot measure would fund improvements

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Single-pane windows, crumbling stucco, flaking paint, decades-old facilities: These are reasons school superintendents in Selma and Kingsburg give to explain their support for a $9 billion statewide bond measure going before voters in November.

The full name of the proposal is the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016. The measure includes $3 billion for modernization projects.

乐动体育Larry Teixeira, assistant superintendent for business and support services at Selma Unified School District, said the average age of Selma school buildings is approximately 50 years.

乐动体育Some were built in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The youngest, Lincoln Middle School, is 25 years old.

Teixeira also said that the Selma High School football stadium needs work.

乐动体育“The [buildings] all need roofing, flooring, painting and air conditioning work,” he said. “They need to have their power [systems] upgraded.”

乐动体育In the Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District, Superintendent Wesley Sever said the oldest schools — Roosevelt and Washington elementary schools — still have single-pane windows in wood frames.

乐动体育Sever said the district wants to install double-pane windows, upgrade the interior, improve the electrical system and replace the stucco. The plan also calls for asbestos removal, new insulation and new roofs.

乐动体育In a facilities improvement plan created by the district a few years ago, officials pegged the cost of needed modernization work, including non-building upgrades, at $20 million.

Sever said the “only way” to fund the improvements is passing the bond. He said if it passes, the district will receive $10 million.

乐动体育The district is planning to offer its own local bond on the primary ballot June 7. If successful, it would fund another $10 million in upgrades to playground equipment, grass, basketball courts and track and field facilities.

Sever said the local bond would maintain existing tax rates and “wouldn’t be any additional cost to taxpayers.”

乐动体育The Small School Districts Association of California is endorsing the statewide bond.

Susan Stuart, a spokeswoman for the group, said California hasn’t had a school facilities bond since 2006. She said there’s a $2 billion backlog of “shovel-ready” projects.

乐动体育She said the bond would especially benefit smaller districts that have difficulty raising enough money through local bonds to pay for major projects.

乐动体育“Without state money, small school districts are severely disadvantaged,” Stuart said.

乐动体育Teixeira said that his district is considering putting a local bond measure on the November ballot to complement the statewide measure.

He said that the two are linked. He said that the district would have more access to state money if it raised some of the money for improvements on its own.

乐动体育“The rules are, if you want state money, you have to put up roughly half the cost yourself,” Teixeira said.

Teixeira said the district has hired a financial consultant to come up with a total price tag for improvements that could be funded with a local bond measure.

乐动体育Teixeira said his confidence level for the statewide bond passing is “very high.”

“I think the voters of California, especially in a high-turnout election like November is supposed to be, will support it,” he said.

The reporter can be reached at snidever@addaptcreative.com or 583-2432. Follow him on Twitter @snidever.

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