Ripon Unified voters six years ago approved a $25.2 million bond.
The school board said the money would be used to replace aging and problematic portable classrooms at Weston and Colony Oak elementary schools as well as addressing safety issues and modernization needs at both campuses.
Now that Ripon Unified has delivered on that promise as the contractors are working on the final components of the Colony Oak School revamp, voters again are being asked to approve another bond. This time if 55 percent of the voters concur on Tuesday, $38.5 million will be spent to 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 acquire land for another elementary school site in a bid to maintain smaller class sizes at elementary schools.
Kit Oase — who is part of the committee working to secure passage of Measure I — notes the latest bond is designed to protect taxpayer investments in the district’s three oldest campuses as well as modernize segments of the campuses as needed to make sure Ripon Unified students continue to benefit from up-to-date STEM (science, technology, electronics, math) and technical career education.
The district will use the funds for major maintenance undertaking including replacing roofs and other deferred maintenance issues, replacing cracking playground asphalt, modernization bathrooms, replacing aging portables, replacing heating and air units, and upgrading security. Ripon High work will also include permanent science lab classrooms and expansion of career tech facilities. The career tech work will also include revamping existing facilities to enhance what can be taught. For example the advent of computers as key components of career tech education in areas such as metal shop, drafting and agriculture forced the district to create educational space to accommodate such use in facilities that were never designed for the computer age. The bond will pay for more classroom space in the agricultural department.
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 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.
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