School board members today will be asked to authorize $500,000 in voter-approved bond money to renovate roughly 20 modular classrooms.
Rot is plaguing most of the structures, said Jeff Napier, Del Norte County Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of business. If funding is approved, Napier said the classrooms will likely get new windows and new doors. Floors and carpeting may be replaced as well as the roofs in many of the buildings, he said.
“It’s just basically making them so they’re nice again,” Napier said, “because right now some of them are rotting to the ground.”
Steve Morgan, the district’s director of facilities and construction, prioritized 20 modular classrooms most in need of repair, Napier said. Today, Morgan will ask the school board for approval to use the district’s bond money to make those repairs, Napier said.
Del Norte County voters approved the $25 million school facilities bond in 2008. According to Napier, any time approval from the school board is necessary to use those dollars. He said using bond money to renovate modular classrooms falls within the parameters of the bond measure itself, which stipulated dollars be spent on constructing new classrooms, renovating existing classrooms and modernizing outdated classrooms and other facilities.
If the board approves the money, Napier said the district would start repairs this summer on modular classrooms at Smith River School and Castle Rock Charter School.
In late April, Morgan informed the school board that district facilities were in need of $200 million to $300 million in repairs. Roofs, heating and ventilation systems and, in some cases, fire alarm systems were ready to fail at Margaret Keating, Smith River, Redwood, Pine Grove, Joe Hamilton and Bess Maxwell schools, Morgan told the school board.
At his request, the school board approved a finding that a project to install a fire alarm system at Crescent Elk Middle School and a renovation project at Joe Hamilton Elementary School was exempted from standards under the California Environmental Quality Act.
However, at that meeting Napier expressed concern about using bond funding to pay for renovating Joe Hamilton.
On Wednesday, Napier said there is about $2.6 million to $3 million left in bond money. The Joe Hamilton renovation project is about $3.6 million, he said.
“We have lots of projects that need to get done,” Napier said. “The conversation we had with the board was do we take everything we have, which may not even be enough to do Joe Hamilton, and throw it all to there and then try to figure out what to do with everything else, or do we look at what are our biggest needs right now?”
Napier said the school district is hoping to get a share of $9 billion in Proposition 51 dollars. Approved by California voters in 2016, Proposition 51 funds facilities improvements at K12 schools and community colleges. However it could be about six years before Del Norte County Unified School District sees that money due to the number of projects submitted to the state, according to Napier.
The district has already submitted the Joe Hamilton renovation project to the California Division of State Architects for approval, Napier said. Project plans would also need to be submitted to the Office of Public Schools Construction and the California Department of Education to be eligible for Proposition 51 dollars, he said.
Other items on today’s agenda include a report from an ad-hoc committee tasked with evaluating the athletics program.
District Superintendent Jeff Harris is also expected to give a report on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 27, 2018 decision in Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31.
In that case the Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling allowing labor unions to collect fees from non-union members.
The Del Norte County Board of Education meets at 4 p.m. today at the district office, 301 W. Washington Blvd., Crescent City. The district board meeting will follow at 4:30 p.m. today. Agendas are available at delnorte.agendaonline.net/public/.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .