Porterville Unified School District Superintendent Nate Nelson and School Board President Lillian Durbin, and Board trustees convened a special meeting on Friday to discuss the results of the school district’s Facility Master Plan and survey that was taken of the community households.
The survey covered support and willingness to sustain future taxes to refurbish, improve or rebuild the school district’s aging elementary and high schools.
After much discussion and review of the survey, the board found support for the elementary school improvements was at 55 percent and more, where support for the high school improvements was not as high.
With the results of the master plan and the community survey the board will consider whether it will ask those in the district to pass a bond measure in another special meeting on Friday, November 22, at 7 a.m. at the PUSD Governing Board Room.
According to a Cal Matters article as of 2017-2018 over the past 20 years when it comes to bond measurers that have passed, PUSD has received some of the least funding from bonds in California, $1,600 per student.
Visalia Unified School District received $3,553 per student from bonds and Lindsay Unified School District receives $10,000 per student from bonds.
PUSD has many aging elementary schools, and the newest school is Harmony Magnet Academy that was built in 2008.
A priority at many of the schools is the aging facilities. As an example bathrooms are inadequate in many of the schools, and once you refurbish them, the state mandates they need to be ADA compliant. board members stated. So it’s easier to rebuild than retrofit.
Durbin said, “If we don’t have the money, it has to be removed from somewhere. Expenditures go on, and costs go up. So do our budgets. We have to accommodate that. Whether we have the money or not. We do that with a bond.
“It’s like my home. And we have to look at it this way. We have to pay more, and reflect on that.
And try and help them (community members). The community needs to understand where all the money is coming from, and why we need it. And why a local bond is needed.”
“The community needs to understand where the money is going, and what we are going to do with it,” said board member Donna Berry.
Nelson said the district could focus on an elementary school district bond in March 2020 and needs to be transparent with community members. “I am concerned about the High school bond,” he said.
“The bond is not for luxury items,” said board member Jim Carson.