School board talks bond possibilities

Trustees discuss facility projects during Tuesday study session

ATASCADERO  —  If all goes well with the Measure I-10 and B-14 bond reimbursement from the State of California, Atascadero Unified School District will be receiving anywhere from $3 million to $25 million to upgrade its facilities. To brainstorm short and long-term use of these funds, the governance team met Tuesday for a study session on facilities, and began to discuss the most effective use the incoming State matching bond fund as well as the remaining bond funds. Ideas presented at the public meeting ranged from the million dollar, big-money projects such as a new high school cafeteria or new high school pool, to some lesser expensive suggestions like installing shade structures at the schools.
“These are all ideas the Board is going to have to start to figure out some positions on,” said Superintendent Tom Butler.
The AHS pool idea brought in four representative parents of high schoolers who talked about how important the swimming programs are for their children, also explaining how swim meets and other growing swim programs will bring in money for the district. 
Many possible priorities were named: building a new AHS cafeteria/multipurpose room that could potentially hold 400 people; going forward with the redesign of the AHS library; improving the ‘curb appeal’ at the AHS site entrances; a Fine Arts Academy office, cafeteria and arts facility; installing shade structures; and adding solar to offset the district electric bill.
AUSD Director of Support Services Stu Stoddard talked about the “not sexy, but prudent” option of using some of the matching bond fund monies for a ‘deferred maintenance’ fund, which was talked about as an investment in the lifespan and legacy of school facilities, and could be used for ongoing maintenance costs such as painting and replacing asphalt on a yearly basis. 
Some site specific items were also tossed around, such as AMS gym fans; a possible expansion of PCHS/ACE; the reconstruction of STEPS; and an item that many trustees felt strongly about: a staff apartment for Carrisa Plains. A pump house was also listed as an idea for Carissa Plains. 
Stoddard said 75 percent of remaining bond projects are completed with secured bond funding, and talked about nine projects still in the works. But he said all projects, from the AHS Girl’s locker room to improving the high school farm facilities, have been funded, planned, budgeted, and contracted. 
“A lot to celebrate here,” Bulter said. “Be proud. There’s lots of great work coming into the district. We had a goal to touch every classroom and we’re pursuing that with gusto.”
The Board will likely discuss these ideas again, as the study session was just the first of many to come. 

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