In 2008, Del Norte County voters approved the Measure A school bond initiative. The school board immediately established a Citizen's Oversight Committee to simply serve as the eyes and ears of the public to assure that taxes collected for school bonds are spent carefully and appropriately.
Since January 2009, the first members selected by the school board from an applicant pool of 30 have served on the COC and recently started their final two-year term. In December 2010, the school board voted to increase the size of the COC to 13, appointing four new members in February 2011.
Five COC members provide representation for specific groups as required by law. I serve as a parent on the Bess Maxwell School Site Council to satisfy the requirement of including a parent who serves on a School Site Council.
Paul Dillard, a member of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association,
serves as the required member of a bone fide taxpayers' association.
Ron Sandler, owner of Del Norte Ambulance, represents Del Norte
County's business owners
At-large members Larry Retzlaff and Jim Coston (new) are both proud
grandparents of school-aged children. New at-large members Brent
Hoskinson, Jay Freeman, and Frank Magarino are all either parents of
school-aged children or have children growing quickly toward school age.
Second-term at-large members Roger White and Bob Dytewski each bring a
background in architecture, construction, and project management. The
board is currently seeking a representative from a local senior
citizens' organization. (Interested? Call 464-0200 for an application.)
Our COC meets four times a year. All COC meetings are held at the
school district's main office, and all are open to the public. At the
first meeting of the newly-enlarged COC, held March 29, 2011, we were
reminded of our role to provide oversight, not direction, for school
bond funds. We also reviewed the possible uses of bond funds: No bond
funds may be expended for activities other than those described on the
November 2008 ballot, and none may be spent on personnel costs unless
directly related to implementing bond-funded projects. (For a full list
of projects, check the COC section of the school district's web page at
delnorte.k12.ca.us. There you will also find meeting dates and agendas,
and soon, before and after photos of projects.)
In August 2010, the original COC members published the first Report
to the Community, as the law stipulates. In that report, we outlined the
bond expenditures through June 2010. At our next meeting on June 6,
2011, we will review a draft of the second Report to the Community, to
be signed and distributed in August 2011.
COC members agree that the school district leaders and the school
board have proceeded with care throughout the past two years, tackling
concerns related to school safety first, including district-wide wiring
for technology to assure safe Internet use for students and staff and to
guarantee the security of digital student records. We appreciate that
as often as possible, they have also leveraged other funding, such as
federal ARRA funds for replacing school refrigerator/freezers at
Crescent Elk and installing a generator in the Transportation Department
to allow for fueling of emergency vehicles and school buses even during
a power outage.
The final big task of the first $5 million in bond funds sold will be
the construction of the Smith River gym this summer. The ambitious
list of school-by-school projects, including new roofing and HVAC
systems, will be spaced over the coming eight to 10 years as additional
bonds are sold. The district will tackle the needs of each school one
at a time, so that the Department of the State Architect (DSA) will not
tack on a new list of demands each time a new project is launched. This
way, each school will go to DSA once, giving DSA only that one
opportunity to make the kind of demands that can cause costs to
The public can contact COC members with questions or concerns. As
chair, I am happy to receive questions or calls by U.S. mail, email, or
telephone. Send mail to COC Chairman Angela Reese-Goughnour, c/o DNCUSD,
310 W. Washington Blvd., Crescent City, CA 95531. We all look forward
to our work of guarding the taxpayers' best interests as Measure A is
Angela Reese-Goughnour is chairwoman of the Measure A Citizens'