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Ripon board nixes $30M bond vote for elementary campuses
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RIPON – Trustees shot down by a slim margin a proposed bond measure Monday that called for finally replacing aging portable units at Colony Oak and Weston schools while updating technology.

At the Ripon Unified school board meeting, they voted 3-2 against the resolution recommended by Superintendent Louise Johnson that would have ordered the issuance of $30 million in bonds for the November ballot.

“I do support it but right now we’re faced with a lot of uncertainties,” Trustee Donna Parks said, pointing to the recent lack of growth in the district coupled with the possibility of more loss enrollment with charter schools and other educational options.

She added, “These are tough times but at least we still have the luxury of two years to see what we can do.”

Parks was joined by board President Mike Fisher and Ernie Tyhurst in voting against ordering another bond election.

“We needed four of the five (school board members) to vote ‘yes,’” Johnson said.

The general obligation bond, if passed, would have combined the tax rate to that of the existing bond, according to senior staff member Ernesto Flores of Caldwell, Flores, and Winters, Inc.

No taxes would have been levied until the sale of the first bond, he noted.

An independent oversight committee would also have been appointment.

The ballot measure, in addition, would have read: “To increase student access to computers and modern classroom technology, acquire, construct, and modernize classrooms, science labs, libraries, and support facilities, improve student safety, reduce operating costs, and provide the local match for state grants.”

Trustee Jack DeLiddo supported the proposal. “It (would have) provided us with the greatest amount of flexibility going forward,” he said.

His colleague, Kit Oase, agreed. “It wasn’t an easy decision yet I thought it was the right decision (to support the resolution) – it made sense for our students and the community,” he said.