The State Allocation Board has said it will provide funding for a new high school in North Merced and an expansion of the Livingston High School campus.
Still, it's no cause for celebration just yet. The projects have been placed on an approved, but unfunded, list. Actual payments to the school district hinge on the state’s ability to sell general obligation bonds to investors.
At a meeting last week, the allocation board awarded $35.8 million in state matching funds for the construction of Bellevue Road Area High School and $7.3 million for an expansion project at the Livingston campus.
The Bellevue Road Area High School funds are divided into two parts: $6.6 million for a classroom building, and $29.2 million for the rest of the campus, according to a memo from Diane Hockersmith, deputy superintendent and chief business officer.
The district applied for the funding in two chunks so they build the classroom building — set to house art, English and social studies classrooms — after the rest of campus is finished.
“We think its great. Its great that we’ve had our application considered complete and eligible for funding,” said Michael Belluomini, MUHSD’s director of facilities planning. “Now we’re just waiting for the state.”
In September, the school board considered how to continue building in the event state funding was never received. Though it’s still a waiting game with the state, the state allocation board’s approval means the campus’ plans meet all state building requirements, and the district is in line for funding once it becomes available.
The state must sell more than $1 billion in school construction bonds to investors before it Merced Union believes it will get its share of state money.
Once the state sends the cash to the district office, officials must sign contracts within 18 months for all construction that will use the state matching funds. After the contracts are signed, the district has four years to complete the construction of the projects that use state funds.
[TAIL_FL]Reporter Danielle E. Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.