Citizens Bond Oversight Committee reviews expenditures of Measure A school bond voters passed in November 2018
VISALIA – There has been lots of talk about Measure A since the Visalia Unified school bond was passed in 2018, mostly about how it will not be enough to build a fifth high school. While many are still focused on what the bond is not doing, a group of citizens are moving forward with ensuring the rest of the project list gets completed and to make sure the money is spent in accordance with the voters’ wishes.
The most recent audit report of the bond measure shows just over $1 million of the $105 million bond measure has been spent, but that report only reviewed expenditures through June 2020. A list of projects funded through the bond include modernization of classrooms, school student facilities, roofing, electrical systems, and HVAC; landscaping improvements, including irrigation and water distribution; asphalt replacement and repair; efficiency implementation for energy use throughout the district; updating or replacement of existing fire safety and security systems; ongoing compliance with codes, statutes, and the Americans with Disabilities Act; new construction and/or modernization projects, which could include charter school facilities; provision of labor and oversight costs for proposed projects and transportation. No proceeds from the bonds shall be used for teacher or administrator salaries or operating expenses.
Erik Kehrer, VUSD’s chief operations officer, said the most recent audit does not take into account projects which began after June 2020. To date, the bond measure has renovated Mt. Whitney High School’s gymnasium and modernization projects are underway at Green Acres and Valley Oak middle schools.
Visalia Unified is looking for new members to serve on its independent citizens committee to oversee the Measure A. Approved by voters in November 2018, the school bond is funded through property taxes assessed at a rate of $36 per $100,000 in value. The median home price in Visalia is around $349,000, meaning the average property owner pays $125.64 cents per year.
The committee must consist of at least seven and up to 11 members appointed by the school board. The committee must include at least one of the following:
- A parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the district;
- A parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the district who is active in a parent-teacher organization, such as PTA or School Site Council;
- An active business member who represents a business located within the district boundaries;
- An active member of a senior citizens’ organization;
- An active member of a bona-fide taxpayers association;
- And two at-large members.
Kehrer said the committee meets on the first Wednesday of the first month of each quarter in March, June, September and December, unless the committee has to move the date. The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 at the district office, or virtually, depending on COVID-19 safety protocols at the time of the meeting. Candidates must submit a written application to be considered. To apply, contact Erik Kehrer, chief operations officer, by calling 559-730-7529 or emailing [email protected]