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Penn Valley school district considers bond program

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

KNOW & GO

Town Hall Meetings

Rough & Ready Community Hall, 14550 Rough and Ready Highway, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Ready Springs Elementary School, 10862 Spenceville Road, in the multi-purpose room, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5.

Site Visits

Ready Springs Elementary School, 10862 Spenceville Road, meet at the flagpole, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Coffee Talk

Caleb’s Creamery & Coffee, 17329 Penn Valley Drive, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Caleb’s Creamery & Coffee, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11.

By name they are different, but their goal remains the same.

For the months of August and September the Penn Valley Union Elementary School District is offering town halls, site visits and coffee chats to discuss the possible proposal of a general obligation bond.

The conversations are meant to educate residents about the possible bond measure, and to hear their thoughts on refurbishing different aspects of Ready Springs Elementary and Williams Ranch Elementary schools.

“Our goal is to get our sites where they are pretty solid for the next 20 years,” school district Superintendent Dr. Torie England said.

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Money needed for the possible bond for Ready Springs is estimated at about $14 million, and almost $3 million for Williams Ranch, according to school district reports.

Ready Springs costs are higher because the school is older, said England.

District board President Rob Moen said the board plans to call for a resolution in October to put the General Obligation bond measure on the March primary ballot.

Bond measures are common ways to raise money since the state revoked dollars for school facilities in 2008, she said. Locally, both the Nevada Joint Union High School District and Grass Valley School District have been working on facility refurbishment projects with bond money.

School district administrators and board members are discussing improving parking lot safety, adding infrastructure compliant with the American Disabilities Act and repairing the ventilation system, among other items at Williams Ranch.

“The dry rot is the biggest piece of it,” said England, referring to possible updates to the school.

At Ready Springs, a possible bond measure would establish a kindergarten classroom complex, improve classrooms and create a new track, which could be used by the wider community.

While many people approve of improving infrastructure at the schools, community conversations this past month have not drawn many attendees, according to the superintendent.

“We’ve had very little to no turnout at all,” said England.

THE DATA

Survey data was compiled by the FM3 Research firm to uncover how district residents feel about a possible general obligation bond measure.

Conducted between May 23 and June 2, the firm’s report found that almost 60% of residents think many district classrooms and buildings “need significant repairs.”

About 61% of residents support the possible bond measure, but “their backing is somewhat soft.” Most of those supporting the measure identify as Democrats, while Republicans “are split” on their support. About 70% of parents with a student currently in the district support the measure, and renters are more likely to support the measure than their homeowner counterparts.

Opponents of the measure largely cited administrative mismanagement or anti-tax sentiments as reasoning, according to the report.

“From what I’ve seen from all the data I’ve collected, it’s positive,” Moen said, referring to the possibility of a bond measure passing.

The report noted that upgrading a track and playground are lower priorities for residents.

“The track is a classroom space,” said England, adding that many residents don’t understand that. The superintendent said it’s required for schools to include 200 minutes of physical education every 10 school days, which is unique to that school subject.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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