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$38.6M bond before Ripon Unified voters Nov. 6
While you can’t see many of the roofs at Ripon High and Ripon Elementary School due to the slope, they are in poor shape after years of patching and are generally in worst shape than the roof on the Ripon High JROTC storage building that is shown here.

Editor’s note: This is the second of a series on Ripon Unified School District’s Measure I bond.

There was a recent incident at Ripon High that caught culprits in the act on surveillance cameras.

But when authorities searched analog footage it was so fuzzy that it was essentially useless.

It may sound like a small detail to be discussing as part of a list of projects proposed for funding with the $38.5 million Ripon Unified School District Measure I bond on the Nov. 6 ballot, but when it is added to a pressing list of other concerns Kit Oase believes a solid case can be made to justify the 30-year debt.

Funds from the bond, if it is passed, will modernize and address long-term maintenance issues as well as health, security, and safety at the Ripona Elementary, Ripon Elementary, and Ripon High campuses. That is in addition to allowing the district to possibly acquire land for another elementary school site in a bid to maintain smaller class sizes at elementary schools.

At Ripon High the bond will allow the replacement of outdated portable classes, the construction of a permanent science lab key to the district’s effort to focus on Science Technology Electronics and Math (STEM) education, as well as reconfigure and expand the career technical education facilities including classrooms in the agricultural department. New Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms will also be built at Stouffer Field.

The bottom line of new classroom construction as well as the modernization and reconfiguration of existing classrooms is to bring Ripon Unified in line for what is needed for a 21st century learning experience as well as to address modern security, safety, and accessibility issues.

Oase — who is part of the committee working to secure passage of Measure I — noted just like with a home’s roof eventually needs to be replaced schools suffer from issues such as deteriorating wood trims, asphalt court drainage issues, heating and air conditioning units need replacing, aging electrical service, outdated and out of complaint restrooms and such.

Many of the roofs at Ripon Elementary and Ripon High have been patched over the years to extend their expected life beyond design standards.

Some who have questioned the need for the bond have asked why Ripon Unified didn’t perform maintenance work over the years. Due to state funding impacted by the Great Recession schools up and down the state did not receive adequate money to address many pressing deferred maintenance needs as what revenue was available was funneled into maintaining instructional programs. Typically Ripon Unified — like most districts — can cover the smaller year-to-year needs but big ticket items such as roofs and heating and air replacement simply can’t be done on the school’s limited general fund dollars.

Oase said the bond measure is as much about protecting the taxpayers’ investment as it is to upgrade educational facilities.

Replacing an elementary campus today costs in excess of $20 million while replicating Ripon High could easily cost more than $100 million, 

The bond, if passed by 55 percent of the voters, will cost property owners $36 more a year per $100,000 of assessed valuation. That is the assessed value and not the market value. If the assessor says a home is worth $300,000 the annual tax bill increase would be $108.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email