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Citizens overseeing bond work

Project will secure new classrooms, free up money for classrooms

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Citizens overseeing bond work

Extensive wear on aging portables - such as this janitor’s room with water damage at Weston School - was the reason voters approved a $25.3 million bond measure for replacement structures.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED March 1, 2013 1:26 a.m.

What’s the role of the citizens’ oversight committee?

At the bond oversight committee meeting on Monday, the group for the voter-approved Measure G projects will have a chance to review just that under Proposition 39.

The 6 p.m. session will take place in the Ripon High library, 301 N. Acacia Ave.

It is the next step toward starting construction for permanent classrooms at Weston and Colony Oak elementary schools.

Don Gatti and Lori Adams were recently added to the Ripon Unified-appointed committee, joining Dick Durham, Marge Imfeld, Stephanie Hobbs, Chad Huskey, Roger Valdez, James D. Moore, and Gary Sively.

“The seven members do make a legally compliant committee but puts the district at risk of being out of compliance if we lose someone for any reason,” explained Superintendent Louise Johnson of the two recent additions.

She added: “In my view, it is better to have more than the minimum required by law to assure continued compliance.”

 The committee was chosen to operate independently of the district, with duties consisting of informing the public about expenditures of school bond proceeds following the passage of the $25 million bond measure.

The general obligation bonds will help pay off the Clinton South parcel used as the Ripon High school farm and the possible site for a future high school campus, and replace the aging portables at Weston and Colony Oak schools with permanent classrooms.

 The $25.3 million Measure G bond approved by voters in November will cost $8.25 per $100,000 of assessed property value per year. That - when combined with prior bond election tax rates - will take the annual cost per $100,000 in assessed valuation to $57.65 per $100,000.

The measure also has been designed to complete what is promised - replacing all aging and deteriorating portables at both schools with permanent classrooms plus adding science labs and libraries at each campus. Should the state for some reason not being able to provide all of the $8 million match in construction grants, the projects as outlined can still be completed.

The campuses after construction is finished for the most part would be similar to classrooms at Park View School and wired for the latest technology. The only buildings not being replaced doing the two elementary sites are the multipurpose rooms and administrative offices.

The bond also allows the district to pay off debt connected with the school farm and future site for a high school on Clinton South Avenue. That would use money borrowed at a lower interest rate to pay off remaining debt on the land purchase to save taxpayers $6 million. The money saved, in turn, can be spent on retaining qualified teachers and protecting the quality of classroom instruction.

The agenda also includes:

• Superintendent Johnson welcoming members of the oversight committee, in turn, asking each to introduce themselves to the group.

• The committee members adopting the bylaws as recommended by the bond counsel.

• The election of officers.

• The group determining the terms in office for each of the select members.

• Adopting a calendar.

In addition, the committee will review and provide input to the school board on the bond structure option.

For more information, call the Ripon Unified district office at 209-599-2131 or log on to www.riponusd.net.

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