District seeking funds for $7.8M bond measure
The Cold Spring School District Board of Trustees met Monday during its regular meeting time with a full agenda. Reopening and renovations were the biggest items.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health approved the district’s waiver to reopen, Superintendent Dr. Amy Alzina announced on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
Merso Labs tested all the district’s teachers and some community members for COVID-19, and the staff tested negative. Testing will return the second Thursday of each month.
On-campus classes will start on Tuesday.
Dr. Alzina said during the board meeting that parents are happy the district applied for the waiver, and the school can expect 177 students. Only 20 seek distance-learning accommodations.
One teacher will be dedicated to teaching students online. The teacher wasn’t comfortable returning in person, so the district re-assigned the role.
A paraprofessional requested a leave of absence because of health concerns, and the board granted it during the meeting. The absence is unpaid.
The district also received an update on the Nov. 3 bond measure. Chief Business Official Yuri Calderon presented an estimate prepared by Stone Creek Engineering Inc. It estimated the project at more than $9.7 million.
The bond is only for $7.8 million, so the district is planning on meeting to prioritize the improvements. Mr. Calderon said he hopes to fund more with a matching grant from the state.
“We were originally considering a $9.8 million bond, but we felt that was a little bit more than the community was willing to give us right now, considering the economic condition,” he told the News-Press.
The COVID-19 pandemic made board members doubt the community’s willingness to invest in the school building, Mr. Calderon said. Original surveys prior to COVID-19 show support with little variation among $9.8 million and $7.8 million bond options.
The bond measure was originally introduced for the 2018 election, but the board tabled it after the Thomas Fire and the Montecito mudslides.
The measure seeks to replace portable buildings with a new classroom building and bring the current building up to modern standards.
One update was even suggested in the late ’90s when the building was last renovated. There were concerns about the fire alarm system back then, but the district skirted by. The system is fully functional, but it’s very hard to find parts for or find someone who can service it.
Mr. Calderon explained during the board meeting that the current estimate is just an average. When the project is bid, the district will provide the price it can afford. Then, architects design around the budget.
The bond measure needs 55% of the vote to pass.