Measure A bond Will Ensure Benefits to Schools and the Community

Michael Johnston of CUSD Administrative Services, addresses the benefits of the Measure A Bond at a press briefing on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Photo by Heather Jamieson-Brown/Clovis Roundup)

Following the boards unanimous decision to approve a $408 million facility bond election, Clovis Unified School Board Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell, Vice President Chris Casado and Associate Superintendent with Administrative Services Michael Johnston held a briefing on the details of the measure and the next steps in the election process.

“We encourage voters to educate themselves on the ballot measures and its impact on our community and then remember to vote next March,” said CUSD Vice President Chris Casado.

If passed, dollars from Measure A will be put towards district wide building and repair projects for our aging schools which, in turn, will also benefit local businesses.

According to Michael Johnston of CUSD Administrative Services, 65 to 70 percent of funds will go towards building new schools and the remainder will cover repairs and modernization. But to get the full benefit of the grants available to the community, the district must first have a facility bond that it is being utilized. Once they have a facility bond, they are able to generate state money into the district as well.

“We want to participate in that state program as much as we possibly can in order to generate dollars for our community,” said Johnston. “Because when we do these projects and bring in state money, we’re generating jobs, we’re generating business for restaurants, gas stations, hotels, on down the line. We’re improving our economy here in Clovis.”

From the previous Measure A bond, Johnston said, Clovis was able to get a 70 percent return on their investment and complete all the projects they set forth to accomplish.

The bond measure will be funded through community property taxes. The tax rate right now is $155 per $100,000 assessed. Before the 2012 bond was passed, the tax rate was at $198 per $100,000.

For the bond measure going on the March 2020 ballot, Johnston says, “We’re probably looking at a little over $179 per $100,000 assessed. So a slight increase, but a very minimal increase and still below the rates we had for many, many years when we were at $198 per $100,000 assessed.”

By 2025, at the current residential growth rate in Clovis Unified, it is estimated that Clovis East could have an attendance of over 4,000 students.

If the bond measure does not get passed, Dr. O’Farrell says, “We would have to take a very hard look at boundary lines across the district or consider some of the other options that we have considered in the past such as year round school.”

Pinedale Elementary School was built in 1952 and benefited greatly from the bond measure passed in 2012. The 2012 Measure A bond gave Pinedale not only a new HVAC system, audio/video equipment in each classroom and intercom system, but also provided a state of the art multipurpose room and kindergarten classroom.

“As people from outside of our community come onto our campus, I want them to leave feeling like, wow, Pinedale’s a really great place,” said Pinedale Elementary Principal Debra Bolls. “So, my hope is that it will pass in order for all our schools to feel that because, no matter what school you’re from, you will be touched in some way through the bond measure.”

Heather Jamieson-Brown
Heather Jamieson-Brown studied journalism at Fresno City College where she acted as a reporter for the award winning Fresno City Rampage, but took a break to be a caregiver for her ailing father who had Parkinson’s disease. She has three grown children and has lived in Clovis for 16 years. Heather has always loved reading books set in the American Old West, but rarely found any with strong female protagonists, thus, she wrote one. She is currently working as a reporter/journalist for the Clovis Roundup.