In an effort to make sure that $88.8 million in funding from Measure N and Measure O are spent as promised on school safety and modernization projects, the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday appointed several members of the community to serve on two bond oversight committees that will monitor and report expenditures for the public.
Parent Teacher Association members and parents Toni Boster, Lacy Elliot and David Folly will serve on the Measure N bond oversight committee, along with Harry Carlson and Kathi Farber, who are both active in senior citizens’ organizations, Georgianna McDonald, who is active in a bona fide taxpayers’ organization, and Bryan Tribble, who is an active member in the District business community. These members, aside from Elliot, will serve on the Measure O bond oversight committee as well.
“I’m so grateful to the members of the community who are willing to do this,” said Trustee Frank Lima. “It’s so important that we make sure that we are compliant with the bond requirements and that there’s never any irregularities. The community has put a trust in us with respect to this bond and it’s critical that we have these oversight committees. Not only are they legally required, but they’re just the right thing to do.”
Results from the Nov. 8 election showed 69.3 percent approval for Measure N and 67.9 percent approval for Measure O. The focus of the two bonds, a $40.8 million elementary bond measure and a $48 million district wide bond measure, is to address critical educational and facility needs throughout the district, including safety improvements, modernization of facilities, updated and improved facilities for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics programs and renovations to the Turlock High Science wing. Following their unanimous declaration the results of general obligation bond Measure N and district-wide general obligation bond Measure O during their Jan. 5 meeting, Trustees had 60 days, or until March 4, to form these two committees.
“With the passing of both bond measures, state requires that the District establish two bond oversight committees in order to oversee and report out to the public as to the spending of bond measure funds,” said Trainor.
Trainor said that members of both committee will actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers’ money for school construction, as well as advise the public as to whether the school district is in compliance with current law, which requires bond funds to be spent only on construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities. As part of the committee, members can review independent financial and performance audits annually, physically inspect school buildings and grounds and request or encourage cost-saving efforts in design and use of facilities. Bond funding cannot be spent on teacher or administrative salaries, or on any other school operating expenses.
“It should be pointed out that they receive no compensation for their service, they are strictly doing it out of the goodness of their hearts,” said Trainor.
Trainor said that each committee must consist of at least seven members, and that the District is still actively searching for one more member for the Measure O bond oversight committee.
“As has been the case for the past two months, we will continue to take applications from any interested parties who wish to fill that final seat,” said Trainor.
Also on Tuesday, Trustees approved a prequalified list of architectural firms for the design of multi-school renovation and improve projects in connection with Measure N and Measure O. Of the seven firms that were approved were TETER Architects and Engineers from Fresno, California Design West Architects from Sacramento, LDA Partners from Stockton, Derivi Castellanos Architects from Stockton, FF&J Architects from Turlock, SKW Architects from Modesto, and Darden Architects from Fresno.
“One of the fundamental pieces that we’ve been working on for quite some time now is putting together a list of qualified firms that we want to work with for both bond measures,” said Trainor. “In consulting with legal counsel, it is highly required that we have a competitive process for the selection of these folks.
“Keep in mind we have not delegated the work yet. This is just a list of firms that we will be working with as we move forward with projects,” added Trainor.
More information on Measure N and Measure O, including bond oversight committee applications, can be found online at turlockusd-ca.schoolloop.com/bond.