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Five schools benefit from $159M bond
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The first five schools that will be benefiting from the narrowly passed $159 million school bond in the November elections are all elementary campuses.

They are Sequoia, Golden West, Lathrop Elementary, Lincoln, and Shasta schools. They were identified in the modernization plan presented to the Board of Trustees at their regular meeting Wednesday night.

All five schools have in common several of the repairs that fall under the safety and health issues.

• Portable classrooms rank high in the list. The portables identified have fallen into serious disrepair and will not be repaired; they will be removed and then replaced. “There are many of them across the district,” said Manteca Unified Facilities Director Sue Bell.

• Failing asphalt, or grounds that are buckling, presenting safety concerns. They will be fixed and repaired.

• Relocating the school’s administration offices for better visibility.

“We’re trying to focus on safety first,” Bell said of those in the projects’ priority list.

At Sequoia School, one of the projects will be to secure the building core with fencing, “so in case of a lockdown, we’re ready to go,” she said.

A new on-site parking is on tap for Lathrop Elementary School.

Lincoln Elementary School does not have a multi-purpose building or gym, so that will be added to the list of modernization projects for this old campus.

Dry rot, leaky roofs, and fire alarms are among the other repairs that will be taking place at Sequoia Elementary School.

No specific figures were mentioned as yet for all of the above campuses. However, in the district’s Facility Master Plan, all these are identified with estimated costs. Bell explained that at the initial step, all the sites will be evaluated with all safety issues taken into consideration first, and then a plan will be developed to implement the modernization process. Every effort will be made as well to “maximize available funding,” added Bell.

All these proposed modernization repairs are aimed at providing “a safe 21st-century environment that students and the community deserve,” said Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke.

“We have to start somewhere,” he said of the modernization plans, so they chose the “high-need schools” first.

One of the concerns was raised by board president Don School who wanted to know if there will be alternative funding available. Burke said there are modernization funds that are available such as money from local CFDs, or Community District Facilities which are special taxes paid by residents living in those districts.

Addressing a major concern expressed by voters on the proper use of Measure G funds, Trustee Deborah Romero said, “We’re going to make sure that happens,” referring to the use of the school bond money “as promised.”