Penn Valley school district bond measure on March ballot |

Penn Valley school district bond measure on March ballot

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Measure J — a bond put forth to increase revenue for Penn Valley schools — will be on the March ballot. The bond would raise up to $16 million in general obligation bonds for construction and rehabilitation of school facilities, which district representatives say have not occurred for “many decades.”

“We hope that the community will support it,” said Penn Valley Union Elementary School District Superintendent Torie Gibson (formerly Torie England). “Our schools are community-based.”

District Board President Rob Moen agreed.

“I do not believe the just over $1 million of funds we currently have would meet all of the safety needs and updates both of our sites are in need of,” Moen said in an email to The Union. “Ready Springs School has roofing and other significant repairs, and Williams Ranch School is now 25 years old and has significant repairs required in order for us to properly maintain the buildings for long-term use.”

“Our facilities are old,” added school district board member Sharon Loucks. “They’ve got a lot of serious safety and other serious problems going on.”

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If the bond measure does not pass, Loucks said the district may have to consider cutting programs and staffing.

Gibson said the district has not received infrastructure funding since 2008, and that the state is no longer providing funding for such needs.

“We are not funded for facilities in any way any longer from the state,” she said.

Putting school bond measures to the public is the new reality for school districts — not just in Nevada County but across the state as well, said Gibson.

“More and more education loses funding, and California continues to slide backwards in per pupil funding,” said Gibson.

If the bond measure passes, Gibson said the school district will be eligible for additional state funding, but she noted that funding is only available if it is matched with $3.5 million from the Penn Valley school district, which it won’t have without passing Measure J.

Moen said if the community supports the bond, the board and superintendent will create a bond oversight committee to ensure the funds are spent responsibly.

“This committee would help to provide feedback to the bond team on project priorities going forward,” he wrote.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email or call 530-477-4219.

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