Proposed D-11 bond issue targets $17.6 million for Westside

       The 13 public schools on the Westside would receive $17.6 million in upgrades as part of a $128.8 million bond issue that has been proposed to the Board of Education by the volunteer Long Range School Use (LRSUS) Task Force.
        A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, June 9 at 7:15 p.m. in the auditorium at the Tesla Educational Opportunity Center, 2560 International Circle. The board accepted the LRSUS recommendations at a meeting in late May, but has not voted whether to approve them yet.
        “The board wants to hear if citizens will support the bond and how they feel about it,” said District 11 spokesperson Elaine Naleski. The bond issue, which would go to district voters in November, does not call for any school closures. A LRSUS subcommittee had recommended eliminating three Westside elementaries because of higher expenses due to low enrollments, but the board has decided to wait and monitor that situation.
       LRSUS' bond-issue recommendations and supportive findings - augmented by tables and graphs - appear in a 92-page document titled “Five Year Capital Investment And Funding Plan 2004-2009.”
        Westside schools need work, based on the table titled “Facilities Condition Index Rating.” The rating grades each school by comparing its fix-up costs to its replacement cost. In that table, all but three of the Westside schools (Coro-nado, West and Bristol) earned “poor” ratings. Identified as most deficient in the district is the old Bijou School (grades 9-12) on North Walnut Street. The cost to completely repair Bijou would be nearly 70 percent of the cost to start over with a new school, according to the table.
       Students and staffers at five Westside schools will undoubtedly be relieved to be designated for one type of capital improvement in the bond issue - air conditioning. Only Coronado High has such climate control now (partially); the bond would also give it to Holmes Middle and Jackson, Bristol, Washington and Midland elementaries.
        The amenity, intended to help students focus on their studies instead of the heat, is not cheap, however. Supplying air conditioning systems to the five schools would cost $3,529,000 of the $17,609,400 (exact amount) recommended for Westside schools' capital repairs and improvements.
       Otherwise, the largest Westside item ($1,350,000) would be a larger auditorium at Coronado High School. Principal Susan Humphrey told the Westside Pioneer that the old auditorium - which would be retained for smaller uses - seats less than 400, which is too small for a school that has nearly doubled in enrollment since the auditorium was built more than 30 years ago.
       “Now we have to schedule concerts on multiple dates to accommodate parents,” she said. “And the stage itself is very inadequate for a full-fledged drama program.”
       Having a “state of the art” auditorium on the Westside “would be a wonderful community resource” that could be rented out at times, she said.
       The bulk of the capital repairs/improvements at most of the schools involves one or more of the following: electrical, heating, plumbing, and inside and outside repairs. The LRSUS Task Force also proposes that each school be allotted a certain amount from the bond issue to spends at its own discretion (called “site determined improvement projects”).
        Below is listed each school's total recommended capital renewal/improvement allotment (followed in parentheses by its most significant cost items):
       BRISTOL - $902,500. ($340,000 for open school modifications; $297,000 to add air conditioning).
        BUENA VISTA - $610,600 ($146,600 for interior repairs; $137,000 for exterior repairs/ramps/ paint).
       HOWBERT - $225,500 ($80,000 for interior repairs).
       IVYWILD - $745,500 ($282,000 for interior repairs; $206,000 for exterior repairs/ramps/paint).
        JACKSON - $837,500 ($233,000 for interior repairs; $226,000 to add air conditioning; $165,000 for parking/traffic improvements).
       MIDLAND - $1,544,500 ($616,000 to add air conditioning; $500,000 to add/replace old portables).
        PIKE - $655,500 ($265,000 to repair/replace HVAC system).
       WASHINGTON - $1,640,500 ($840,000 to add air conditioning; $310,000 for open school modifications; $176,000 to repair/replace HVAC system).
       WHITTIER - $518,500 ($201,500 for exterior repairs/ramps/paint; $113,000 for interior repairs).
        HOLMES - $4,252,000 ($1,550,000 to add air conditioning; $1,186,000 to repair/replace HVAC system; $880,000 to repair/ replace roof; $402,000 for interior repairs).
       WEST - $547,000 ($198,000 to repair/replace HVAC system; $161,000 for site determined improvement projects).
       CORONADO - $4,420,500 ($1,350,000 for new auditorium; $901,000 for a science area renovation; $872,000 to repair/ replace HVAC system; $256,000 for site determined improvement projects; $225,000 for art room renovation; $220,000 to repair/replace roof; $199,500 to repair/replace electrical system).
        BIJOU - $709,300 ($360,000 to repair/replace portable building; $100,000 to add a small auditorium).
       The LRSUS document is available on line at the District 11 web site: On the home page, under “Hot Topics,” click the “Capital Plan 2004-2009” link. To see a hard copy of the document, call 477-6004.

Westside Pioneer Article