It’s official: La Cañada Flintridge voters will decide on Nov. 7 whether to approve $149 million in general obligation bonds that La Cañada Unified School District would use to fund campus repairs and modernization efforts included in the facilities master plan.
LCUSD Governing Board members voted unanimously Tuesday to support both the bond election and the facilities plan.
“This is exciting,” board member Ellen Multari said.
The proposed new issuance of bonds would extend the tax rate for 30 years at its current level, without increasing it from the rate that’s approximately $60 per $100,000 of assessed property valuation, according to Mark Evans, the district’s chief business and operations officer. Not all of the $149 million would be issued at once, Evans said, adding that as older bonds approved between 1995-2004 finish their terms, new bonds will be issued in their place.
The board also voted to authorize the district — which recently was upgraded by Moody’s Investors Service to Aa1 from Aa2 — to refund already issued bonds at a lower interest rate, a move that Board President Dan Jeffries said could save about $1 million.
To pass in November, the new bond measure will require 55% voter approval, as well as the formation of a citizens’ bond oversight committee to audit how the funds are spent.
The election is scheduled to coincide with the district’s next school board election, when three seats will be available as Dan Jeffries, Kaitzer Puglia and David Sagal’s terms expire.
The language voters will see on the ballot in regard to the bond will describe its purpose, in part, as: “To repair and modernize classroom and school facilities, including fixing deteriorating roofs, plumbing and electrical systems, improve student safety and campus security systems, upgrade/expand classrooms, science labs, career-training facilities and instructional technology…”
The facilities master plan, meanwhile, outlines the district’s priorities for how it would spend $100.7 million, identifying technological infrastructure and Palm Crest Elementary School’s sewer connection as “must-dos.”
After surveying close to 1,000 stakeholders and holding 32 meetings, according to board President Jeffries’ tally, LPA Architects’ representatives also identified priorities for each school site.
• La Cañada Elementary School: a new two-story classroom building; modernization; and safety and security updates.
• Palm Crest Elementary: a new two-story classroom building; modernization; parking and drop-off improvements; and safety and security updates.
• Paradise Canyon Elementary: a new two-story classroom building; modernization; a new lunch shelter; and safety and security updates.
• La Cañada High School and 7/ 8: A new, larger pool; refurbish home stadium bleachers; safety and security updates; multipurpose room modernization; and band room modernization.
Next on the priority list at the high school, should additional money become available, is more modernization and athletic training room upgrades. Another possibility: “next-generation” classroom furniture.
“From our vantage point, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with your district and stakeholders,” LPA project designer Lindsay Hayward said. “[Plentiful feedback] is what we always want, so thanks for being a good example.”
CARTNAL’S NEW ROLE
James Cartnal was approved as the district’s first executive director of Pupil and Personnel Programs and Services.
Most recently the associate principal at LCHS, Cartnal’s new role is intended to deliver oversight to programs pertaining to health and wellness, curriculum development and instructional implementation, specialized intervention, professional development and community outreach.
The position stems from a demand by stakeholders and the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan guidelines to develop and augment services in support of pupils and personnel, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said.
“We haven’t had anyone to teach new hires the LCUSD way or to outreach and check in with and guide incoming administrators and certificated staff,” Sinnette said. “They’ve not seen that and they would like to really focus on that, so I think it’s a comprehensive program that addressed not only the academic side of the house, but also the social emotional side.”
She also said the position would constitute an additional salary for a year, after which there are plans to return to existing staffing ratios.
The Governing Board unanimously approved the district’s LCAP, which identifies specific actions and goals by which student progress is to be identified in a 257-page document that will be sent to Los Angeles County for approval. Without it, the county can disapprove any district budget that doesn’t include expenditures necessary to implement the plan.
If the county requests any changes before the July 1 deadline, the Governing Board would convene for a special meeting on June 29 to approve updates.
NEW LICE POLICY
The district will update its policy on combatting lice so that students who have been treated by an FDA-approved pediculicide can return to class, but those who were treated with either a comb-out or another homeopathic remedy can return to class only if no lice are found during a check.
Only Multari voted against the update, saying that her daughter’s past personal experience with pediculicides wasn’t effective and that she was concerned that it would seem the district is recommending a product without taking into account potential side effects.
Sinnette said the district received more than 345 permit applications to attend LCUSD schools, of which it accepted 139, spreading those students among campuses so no school’s student body is comprised of more than 15.7% permit students.