The City of Clovis is rapidly growing; new families are moving to the area, which means new communities are being built. As much as the City of Clovis welcomes new families with children, overcrowding in classrooms is an issue in Clovis Unified School District.
Scheduling has become a nightmare for some teachers who have to do block scheduling, which is not ideal for teaching. Campuses are having to add mobile classrooms to make more room for incoming students.
Measure A is a 335 million dollar bond CUSD would like to see pass in the November polls. If passed, every school through CUSD will receive a portion of the funding. It will be funded through property tax but is said not to increase the tax rate.
“We need it desperately. Just take a drive east and south from Clovis and look at the hundreds of new homes built. Clovis is booming once again, and we need the space for all those kids to go to school,” says Raeanna William, Kindergarten instructional aid in Clovis.
CUSD adds new educational centers every 4,000 to 5,000 new enrollments. As of today, they have far surpassed the mark of new enrollments.
“We feel we are good stewards in the community’s investments in the schools. One of our key foundational tenets is that the schools belong to the community,” says Eimear O’Farrell, Superintendent of CUSD.
In March earlier this year, Measure A did not pass because of the concern property taxes were going to increase.
“Last time in March, the district was requesting 408 million dollars of a bond which would make our property taxes increase to 179 dollars per 100 thousand asset valuation. So we currently pay 155 dollars per 100 thousand. So what we have done is listen to the community, we have gone back and adjusted the amount and reduced some of the projects on the list. We are asking for 335 million dollars, which would keep that rate at a 155,” says Denver Stairs, Assistant Superintendent of CUSD.
Funds will be controlled locally and not by the state; funds will not be used for CUSD employee salary, only for the benefit of every student in the district.
If the bond passes, CUSD will finish its design and start constructing the Terry Bradley Education Center, a middle school, and high school. It will relieve overcrowding in the southeast part of town.
A new elementary school is planned to be built but the location is yet to be determined. It depends on the growth in the southeast or the northeast area of Clovis.
“We have two grade levels that are totally maxed out, so that involves some capping and bussing. At my site, we feel the crunch,” says Donelle Kellum, Principle of Clovis Elementary.
Safety measures will be put in place in public food service areas; plastic shields will be installed to improve staff and students’ health.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning will be updated on every campus to a hospital-grade standard.
Auto-door locks will be installed at every campus to improve immediate response to a potential threat. An example would be an active shooter on the premises. A One-touch lockdown system will ensure the safety of every student and staff in a classroom.
The last bond measure that passed was in 2012 was used in its entirety for its original plans.
If Measure A bond does not pass, overcrowding will continue, and students will have to be bussed out of their neighborhood school, and campuses will lack the upgrades they need.