A number of school safety and modernization projects are within reach at Turlock Unified School District after preliminary results from Tuesday’s election showed that a majority of votes cast were in support of two general obligation bond measures that will provide necessary funds to address educational and facility needs throughout the district.
“Passing of Measures N and O is a testament to our community's support for education in Turlock and their desire to create safer, secured schools that are modernized with state of the art facilities related to STEM, specifically science,” said TUSD Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan. “I'm elated to think about the opportunities our students and staff will have as it relates to ‘opening doors for more’ because we believe every student deserves our best to be their best.”
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, 5,697 votes, or 66.3 percent of total votes, were cast in support of Measure N, while 6,209 votes, or 64.8 percent of total votes, were cast in support of Measure O. Twenty-four of 44 precincts and 34 of 57 precincts were counted as of 10 p.m. for Measure N and Measure O, respectively.
The two bonds, a $40.8 million elementary bond measure and a $48 million district wide bond measure, were prepared after substantial research from the Board of Trustees, including surveys to see if the bonds would be approved by potential voters and the development of a bond advisory committee, which deliberated on what projects should be prioritized by the bonds if passed.
The district wide bond measure will authorize $48 million in general obligation bonds for facilities at Turlock High School, Pitman High School and Roselawn High school, while the elementary bond measure will authorize $40.8 million in general obligation bonds for facilities at Brown, Crowell, Cunningham, Earl, Julien, Osborn, Medeiros, Walnut and Wakefield elementary schools, as well as Dutcher Middle School, Turlock Junior High School and eCademy Charter.
The focus for the two bond measures is to address critical facility needs which were identified through the research. Four major focus areas were decided on: safety improvements, modernization of facilities, updated and improved facilities for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) programs and renovations to the Turlock High science wing.
Safety and security improvements will include renovations supporting access to controlled entrance points at campuses, including fencing, implementation of universal emergency signal and communication systems, addition or removal of classrooms and supports facilities to reduce overcrowding, development of new property to reduce overcrowding and expand high-demand programs, the removal of hazardous materials on campuses (asbestos, lead-based paint) and upgrades to exterior lighting, heating and ventilation systems.
Improvements and upgrades to STEM programs within the district will include construction of a new Turlock High Science Wing, renovation of existing STEM classrooms, development of advanced 21st century classrooms and expansion of Career and Technical Education and pathways to include STEM, fabrication, health science, business, agriculture, food and natural resources.
Modernizations and renovations are to include construction improvements to accommodate the disabled, improvements and upgrades to meet health and safety codes, reparation and replacement of aging portable classrooms, upgrades to electrical systems and the completion of all code requirements, including installation of new fire hydrants.
Together, the measures will generate $88.8 million in local funds plus potential millions in state matching funds. Local taxpayers will repay the bonds over the next 25 years beginning in December 2017 at a combined projected rate of no more than $58.99 per $100,000 of assessed value. The district wide bond will raise $48 million with a projected rate of no more than $29.99 per $100,000 of assessed value, and the elementary bond will raise $40.8 million with a projected rate of no more than $29 per $100,000 of assessed value.