Lompoc School District Says Measuring a Link Vital to Classroom Improvement | Local News

Students entering a Lompoc Unified School District class seeing words of wisdom posted near large rusty spots on the walls, mismatched tiles, yellowed blinds, and other signs of the property’s dated condition.

Once inside, they can sit at old desks with green seafoam chairs revealing the age of the 57-year-old Cabrillo High School Campus.

“If you go through all the campuses, you’ll see the needs are consistent but not identical,” said Doug Sorum, assistant superintendent of business services.

For the fourth time since 2016, the Lompoc School District asked voters to approve a $125 million bond measure, this one called Measure A, to undertake what district officials consider a much-needed modernization program across all 16 campuses. To pass, the measure must be approved by 55% of voters in the November 8 election.

District officials say a local bond measure would also make LUSD eligible for about $46 million in state matching funds, spurring projects that may be completed.

Before placing the bail on the ballots, the district surveyed voters to gauge support and assess which projects community members thought were most important in a district where the “newest” campus was built in 1969.

“Upgrading existing classrooms was, without exception, the single most important element the community wanted to see done,” Sorum said. Noozhawk.

Others included transitional kindergarten classrooms, vocational/technical education facilities and portable classroom building replacements, he added.

Modern flooring would be installed in place of older asbestos-containing tiles. Classroom walls with rusting window frames that allow water and insect intrusion would also be replaced.

“The new windows would be functional,” Sorum said. “When I say usable, I mean teachers could open and close a window to let in fresh air whenever they want.

“It’s something that is quite random in the district. Most of them have been rusted for a long time. If we open them, you will break the whole window.

A worn spot is behind a teacher’s desk showing the broken tile – “It’s way beyond all life expectancy,” Sorum said.

Other projects focus on safety and security, such as putting up fencing around campuses, adding cameras, and improving sound systems.

Acting Superintendent Debbie Blow led two other districts that passed mandatory measures, including the Orcutt Union School District.

“The classrooms were in better condition and the facilities were in better condition than here,” she said. “I’m a bit shocked by the condition.”

School board member Tom Blanco was more blunt.

“You know what kids deserve, and our kids don’t get it,” he said.

Measure A is meeting with opposition, particularly from traditional factions that oppose tax hikes. One reviewer argues that a lack of maintenance has led to problems.

“Our classrooms are very well maintained,” Blow replied, adding that a 60-year-old house needed renovations and modernization at some point.

Proponents say the new facility improvement tax will not increase property tax bills because it is designed to issue new bonds after the previous bond is paid off to avoid an overall tax hike.

Opponents have also complained that the Oversight Committee will have no say in what projects get done.

But Sorum said that stems from state laws that spell out the process, which includes appointing an oversight committee and requiring audits.

Two of the opponents, who signed the statement of opposition in the sample ballot, have previously served on the Measure N monitoring committee. One was on the panel when his final report was submitted, saying district officials “watched every penny and passed state agency audits without any prompting from the committee of surveillance”.

“At each meeting, the district provided detailed cost breakdowns and explained each cost,” the report said.

No on the A signs also cite the direction of the district, although they do not mention that the district the first two remaining directors during the summer.

Opponents point out that LUSD has pursued three unsuccessful bond moves in recent years, one in 2016 and two more in 2018. But Sorum noted the moves fell just short of the required 55% voter approval, in one case per year. 300 votes.

“Obviously the community supports the idea,” he said. “We just haven’t crossed the fence yet,” Sorum said. “The truth is when someone says, ‘Lompoc doesn’t support him. Stop trying, they are just feeding misinformation.

Blanco, a retiree, said he didn’t like adding taxes, but recognized the broader value of the school’s modernization efforts.

“People who care about the community understand that these children are going to be in our community, helping us, being our nurses, serving our food and being our doctors,” he said. “We need to take care of them for the community to improve.”

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Login with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Comments are closed.