CUSD Kicks Off Measure A Campaign With Pep Rally

Lisa Smittcamp and members of the Clovis Unified School District board pose for a photo at the district’s Measure A campaign rally at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Jan. 9, 2020. More than 300 people attended the event, including CUSD students, faculty and community supporters. (Photo by Ron Camacho)

Clovis Unified School District board members, along with faculty, students and community supporters, kicked off the district’s Measure A campaign to approve $408 million in bonds.

Students from the Clovis East marching band welcomed guests with school anthems as they walked into the rally, which took place at 5 p.m., Jan. 9 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. An estimated 300 people attended the event.

Fresno District Attorney and campaign co-chair Lisa Smittcamp gave opening remarks at the rally, saying CUSD needs the bonds because it cannot depend on state funding.

“We cannot depend on Sacramento,” she said. “What we can depend on is ourselves and that’s what this measure is all about. That is why I am here tonight. We have voters and students and residents and administrators who walk the walk and talk the talk. The people of Clovis Unified have always put their money where their mouth is.”

CUSD intends to use the bonds to modernize and upgrade current schools with tech labs.  

CUSD Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell said the Measure A bonds will continue to make the district the leader of education in the valley.

“Many years ago Doc Buchanan himself asked his community, ‘Do our kids deserve world class facilities?’ The answer that this community has continued to gives is yes,” O’Farrell said. “When you put teachers and students and councilors and nurses and clerical staff and groundskeepers in facilities that exude excellence, you know what that translates to? It translates to excellence in performance.”

O’Farrell added that out of the district’s 50 schools, 30 are more than 25 years old.

“As we are growing older and as our district is expanding, we need to make sure we are meeting the needs of this community. We have great growth going on and we also need to modernize our facilities. We need to make sure that whatever classroom you are in, you can’t tell if the school is one year old or 20 years old,” O’Farrell said.

CUSD Governing Board Member Ginny Hovsepian said Clovis Unified thrives because of past generations who invested in the district’s future. She said the funding would also go to building new schools.

“First, we need the money to build more schools and upgrade. The second thing is the reason we enjoy schools today is because people in the past have voted for school bonds, so we need to pay it forward,” Hovsepian told the Roundup.

Hovsepian said the district already owns property to build a new school, but the district still needs funding to build it.

“There will be new schools built with some of this money,” she said.

CUSD Board President Christopher Casado said he is grateful for the past generations who passed the bonds that made the district what it is today. Now it is time for the current generation to do the same, he said.

“I am grateful for my parents for voting and passing the bonds before us. Now it is our opportunity to do the same for our kids and for the community for their kids,” Casado told the Roundup.

Casado hopes passing Measure A will encourage the state to approve matching funds for more schools.

“What passing this bond gives us the opportunity to do is to apply and almost guarantee that we will get matching funds from the state, but the community has to show to the state that we support the school district,” Casado said.

“If other districts don’t get the community behind them to support that, they can’t go out and get those matching funds because the state won’t award them because they don’t have the support of the community.”

Clovis votes on the measure March 3.

Ron Camacho was born and raised in Clovis. He attended Clovis High School and graduated from CSU Fresno in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. Before joining the Roundup, Ron wrote for Pollstar Magazine and the Sanger Herald. He has a deep appreciation for the arts and is a lover of music, cinema and storytelling. When he’s not busy looking for his next story, Ron enjoys taking weekend expeditions to the beach or mountains to practice landscape photography.