May 30, 2014

Planada, Le Grand and Merced River school districts seek voters’ help with bonds

Le Grand Union High School District needs $4.2 million for stadium, gym renovation and new bus barn.

Backers of bond measures in Planada, Le Grand and Merced River school districts are counting on voters to help them Tuesday with the money for needed facility upgrades.

The Planada School District is seeking $1.5 million from voters. Measure O funds would be used to address technology issues and retrofit old Planada Elementary School buildings.

Within the Le Grand Union High School District, Measure N would dedicate $4.2 million to renovate the football stadium and gym, build a bus barn and locate a new portable classroom at Granada High School in Planada.

The Merced River Union Elementary School District is seeking $1.8 million from Measure L to finance upgrades at Washington School. The district has 157 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the Winton and Snelling areas.

Donna Alley, Le Grand superintendent, said she remains hopeful about passage of Measure N. Trustees of both Planada and Le Grand school boards passed resolutions supporting each other’s bond measures.

Jose Gonzalez, Planada superintendent, said the latest poll showed 69.5 percent of voters support Measure O; 11 percent indicated they were undecided. Fifty-five percent approval is needed to pass the bond.

Gonzalez said a grass-roots effort, including plenty of door-to-door precinct walking, has been under way and will continue this weekend. The Friends of Planada School committee has 15 volunteer members, including parents, board members, administrators and staff.

Jim Tesone, a Le Grand trustee, said he’s comfortable voters will make the right decision. He said the majority of voters support Measure N.

Tesone conceded it’s a tight time right now for area farmers, but that a bond measure is the only way to pay for needed upgrades.

“Some things are critical and need to be done,” Tesone said. “I would have liked for it to be less, but the need is there for the stadium, bus barn and an update on handicapped issues. We are going to be frugal and use the money for the things most needed.”

Alley said the bond will cost taxpayers $25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. No developer fees are collected in Le Grand, and state money for upgrades is unlikely.

Le Grand Trustee John Chavez said the bond measure needs to be passed and facility needs addressed. Trustee David Serrano said the bond seems to be the only alternative.

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