TUSD: Schools need $82M bond to succeed
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 16, 2014 | 7083 views | 22 22 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Franco (from left), Associate Superintendent of Business Services Casey Goodall and Director of Facilities and Planning Bonny Carter talk about the Measure B bond on the June ballot with the Tracy Press editorial board Tuesday.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Tracy Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Franco (from left), Associate Superintendent of Business Services Casey Goodall and Director of Facilities and Planning Bonny Carter talk about the Measure B bond on the June ballot with the Tracy Press editorial board Tuesday. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
Casey Goodall, Tracy Unified School District associate superintendent of business services, shows a pipe taken from under Monte Vista Middle School during its renovation as a group of district administrators met with the Tracy Press editorial board Tuesday to discuss the Measure B bond on the June ballot.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Casey Goodall, Tracy Unified School District associate superintendent of business services, shows a pipe taken from under Monte Vista Middle School during its renovation as a group of district administrators met with the Tracy Press editorial board Tuesday to discuss the Measure B bond on the June ballot. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
Dr. James Franco, Tracy Unified School District superintendent of schools, talks about the Measure B bond on the June ballot during a meeting Tuesday with the Tracy Press editorial board.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Dr. James Franco, Tracy Unified School District superintendent of schools, talks about the Measure B bond on the June ballot during a meeting Tuesday with the Tracy Press editorial board. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
Tracy Unified School District administrators are hoping for community support to get an $82 million school bond passed in the June election to modernize Central, North and Clover schools.

“To me, it looks like there is enough money to do those three schools, and we’re committed to make those three schools (into) schools we’d be proud of,” Casey Goodall, assistant superintendent for business services, said.

In the past eight years, TUSD officials have convinced voters to pass two bond measures to modernize district schools.

The first was Measure E, a $51 million bond measure in 2006 to make improvements to Tracy and West high schools. It was followed by Measure S in 2008 for $43.1 million to improve district elementary and middle schools.

Initially, the Measure S list included Central Elementary School, but Goodall said administrators eventually realized they couldn’t accomplish all of their goals and trimmed back their priority list.

“We realized we were not going to be able to do the scope of the projects that we hoped we were going to do,” Goodall said. “The question posed to them (board of trustees) was do you scale the projects back to where you’re probably not going to get anything out of what you spend, or do you change the project and show you are doing the right thing with the voters’ dollars.”

Most of the Measure S funds were spent renovating Monte Vista Middle School and modernizing McKinley Elementary School.

The last item on the Measure S to-do list is the renovation of South/West Park Elementary School, which is slated to begin in June 2015, Goodall said.

One outcome of the earlier modernization projects was the creation of a uniform classroom pattern for all TUSD schools, Superintendent Dr. James Franco said.

He said that after the voters approved the bonds, district officials recognized that residents didn’t want anything fancy done to their schools. He said they wanted what made sense, and that resulted in the creation of a “standard classroom plan.”

The district set a goal to modernize every TUSD school with such things as white boards, storage space, carpet, air-conditioning that worked and overhead projectors, Franco said — “visual image elements that people could retain and say, ‘I’d like that at my school, too.’ Nice environment in the classrooms.”

Bonny Carter, the director of facilities and planning, said TUSD administrators have an image they are trying to implement whenever they do a school modernization. She said they always want to make sure the work is anchored by the standards they have set.

The proposed $82 million bond measure, B, would provide up-to-date classrooms, libraries and computer labs at Central, North and the former Clover School campus, now occupied by the Tracy Learning Center charter schools. It would also cover the cost to replace the old plumbing, heating and ventilation with energy-efficient systems, upgrade and improve the electrical systems, increase classroom technology and upgrade the campus security systems at those three schools.

The estimated cost of the bond to homeowners in the district is $50 per $100,000 of assessed value, added to the annual property tax bill.

“We think this is the amount of money we need to address these other schools and we’ll be in good shape after this,” Goodall said. “I don’t think this is something we will come back saying we need more (money).”

Voters will make their decision on Measure B on June 3 in the state primary election.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

 
Comments
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runningpasopony
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June 14, 2014
part 5

How about the fact that the alarm system in the gym has not worked in years when all it needed is two magnets above the door. Yet can spend 40 to 60 thousand dollars to put up cameras. Or they can spend 60 thousand to remodel the speed line in the cafeteria but not fix the clock above it so the kids can make it to class on time.
runningpasopony
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June 14, 2014
part 4

The schools are falling apart because no one cares to do their job. How about the maintenance department not fixing things until it is too late? Like the pipe that burst in a school office this week after it corroded so badly that it burst and flooded the room. That pipe had been ask to be fixed many times over the years due to leaking. How about the waste of calling in roto rooter to fix a busted stud bolt, when our maintenance crew should know how to use an easy out to take out the bolt and fix the toilet? Roto rooter is expensive and a waste when our maintenance dept should have the know how and willingness to fix things. The picture above of the pipe is showing us a lack of yearly maintenance. Wake Up People!! Demand better conditions for your CHILDREN!!!
runningpasopony
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June 14, 2014
part 3

Better yet take the money from the savings on all the waste that can be corrected from all the schools and use it for upgrades instead of a bond? The waste that I mentioned in the last 2 posts are still going on today all of it, including the food practices. We are talking about thousands upon thousands of dollars a day through out the whole school district. Something has to change and someone has to be accountable for all the waste and greed in the district.
runningpasopony
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June 14, 2014
part 2

Why do the teachers need the best technology instead of the students getting it? This week West High had a touch screen installed for every single teacher when they all had a perfectly good flat screen for their desk top. Why do they need a touch screen for a desk top when the mouse will do the same job. This must have cost thousands of dollars. Why was the money not spent on the students? Do you know that people have lost their homes because of the increase of the health insurance? When the district could have raised the insurance cap for their employees.

The district has also instructed their employees to thrown out toilet paper when the roll is only have empty?? I am talking about those large industrial rolls that are thrown out when only half empty instead of putting another full roll on top to use or change it and put the half roll on top.

Money is being wasted at all aspects of this district. Then they holler about how they do not have any money for raises or lower insurance rated right before and during negotiations for renewing contracts. Then two months later after contracts are signed they all of a sudden find millions upon millions of dollars and the Superintendent of schools gets a nice fat bonus and many perks with that money.

I have to say that when they state that they are a employee friendly employer, sure they are employee friendly like a lion trainer thrown to the lions with raw meat tied around his neck.
runningpasopony
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June 14, 2014
I wanted to just drop a line on a problem that has been bothering me for over 20 years now. Tracy School District has tremendous amount of waste. I know first hand on this waste as I used to work for them 20 years ago. At that time I was observing the amount of food that was wasted for starters. Whole chicken breasts, pizzas freshly cooked Boxes upon boxes of fresh whole fruit never touched all thrown away. Just to name a few. Why cant we give this food to the McHenry house and the homeless? They can sign a release of liability for the school district as long as they handle it properly before giving it away. Other cities school districts do this. Another thing is why do the schools have to leave everything on all the time. They could cut back on energy if the teachers would have every student power down their computers and turn them off instead of leaving them on 24/7 that includes the lights and heating/ air conditioning. Teacher have their own keys to their room and go on campus at all hours of the day and night and constantly leave things on and unlocked.

Why do the teachers need the best technology instead of the students getting it? This week West High had a to
tracyschooldist
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June 14, 2014
we will take all your money as long as we can you fools
Wobbley
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May 21, 2014
“We think this is the amount of money we need to address these other schools and we’ll be in good shape after this,” Goodall said. “I don’t think this is something we will come back saying we need more (money).”

They are doing that now. I voted for E and S in good faith that the actual work could be completed with what was asked for. It's not the voters fault the money was squandered in the name of 'uniformity'???? I assume the same contractor was used to assure this 'uniformity'?
doorsc
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May 19, 2014
I agree. You want to save money? Fire useless administrators like Linda Dopp and Franco.
Point_of-Order
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May 21, 2014
Wasn't there another comment here?

Why was it removed?
TracyRAP
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May 18, 2014
Remember what the D.A.R.E. Program taught you and JUST SAY NO!
MrSycamore
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May 17, 2014
Vote No! Our schools look fantastic but the landscaping around the schools and throughout our City looks like crap! I think the TUSD should focus on improving test scores than renovating schools!
Sneaky
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May 19, 2014
I agree with you on the no vote but I would rather not be paying for landscaping at all. Plants on a median or along side a sidewalk don't really serve much of a purpose, beyond sucking up water and sucking up the money that goes to maintenance workers to trim them periodically. I would rather just leave dirt in the median strips and such and let nature take its course. Whatever grows, grows and whatever doesn't, doesn't. Of course if some random folks wanted to go plant some stuff there themselves,take care of the watering and pay for it themselves then more power to them. Would it look like crap? That is a subjective judgment but I would say it would look no worse than the rest of nature and certainly less ugly than high taxes.
ReadDaily
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May 17, 2014
Everyone has valid comments, but the fact is the only way to rebuild schools are with bonds (in every city you will see that evidence). Past bonds have indeed rebuild the schools (go look for yourself the improvements!) and money was spent to serve the largest numbers (i.e. high schools). The job is not done: Example, Central is the oldest school (1930's) and has had recent electrical shortages, blackouts, leaks, floors sagging, etc. Each site is in grave need. Yes, an argument can be made to have spread out upgrades evenly to all sites... but instead it was to complete the sites at hand and not have to go back. The issue is: are modernized schools an asset homeowners can be proud of...and will it help our property values?
Sneaky
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May 17, 2014
If I thought for a moment that they would take the money, fix the problem and not be asking for more money again in 5 years then I would vote yes in a minute, however, if there is one thing I have learned it is that government has a never ending appetite for everyone else's money and local and state governments will never pay for anything without a bond. I guess that it two things. Why can't we just for once, save up the needed money then make the desired school upgrades? Why must our leaders be continually stupid and throw most of our money away to interest payments? Government should follow one very simple finance rule: if you cant pay cash for it then you cant afford it.
Sero7
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May 16, 2014
No way! The schools will never stop asking for money. Here is how it works, they have the money, but the more money and things they can get you to pay for, lets them use their money for the things they want to spend their money on. Think about all of the things they want you to bring to school for the kids like paper, tissue, pencils and so on. If they can get you to pay for that stuff, they can save their money for the pets projects they want to see happen.

I speak factually as school districts are one of my clients and they do not spend there money wisely. They buy from their friends and companies that give them kickbacks on the side not from the lowest bidders. If you knew what I know it would turn your stomach. NO NO NO !!!!!!! I am tired of them asking for more, because more just leads to more. Can't blame them for asking since the taxpayers of Tracy have given in the past!
stillintracy
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May 16, 2014
It’s a NO vote for me and my wife.

You wasted a ton of my money on sports fields and pools.

Have no idea what the normal operating cost for the sports field but it’s been quoted in the Tracy Press a few years ago that the pools will cost about $200,000.00 a year just for up keep of all the polls.

Now the swim club wants us to let them use the pools for next to nothing. If it’s costing us $3,850.00 each week that should be the starting price for rental for the weekend.

Use our money wisely and maybe next time you ask us for more money you might get it. NOT.

tracyresdnt
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May 16, 2014
So... this time, "we think this is the amount of money we need"... until "administrators eventually realized they couldn’t accomplish all of their goals".

This story is so old. Give us money that we'll spend without regard and then we'll ask for more money. And then we'll do it again and again because voters are gullible enough to hold nobody accountable.

How about you intelligently utilize the resources that you have and stop demanding more in the name of the poor children.

Everyone needs to vote no on this.

1resident
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May 16, 2014
Amen
Macpup
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May 16, 2014
The Tracy property owners are currently being taxed for two Tracy School District bonds along with SJ Delta College Bonds and Tracy-Lammersville School District Bonds. When the "public" votes for this free money in the form of bonds, how many of them actually have to pay the price? It's easy to approve something that doesn't cost you anything.

Keeping schools up to date is great. No one wants their kids in dilapidated surroundings. My question is if the District is diverting funds that could be used for renovations to supply each student and teacher with new tablets/laptops as per Common Core standards? As per a previous article, students won't be lugging heavy backpacks full of books, they will have a tablet.
Wobbley
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May 21, 2014
I'm the only original homeowner, and probably the only home owner as opposed to renter within two blocks.


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