Bond, budget highlight Three Rivers School agenda
February 12, 2019 - 16:05 admin
Bond oversight committee members appointed
February 8, 2019
At the regular monthly meeting of the Three Rivers Union School District board of trustees on Wednesday, Feb. 6, appropriation of bond funds and planning for the ever-present budget challenges were key agenda items in old and new business. There was also discussion on pending improvements to the upper field, specifically the resurfacing of the blacktop on court play areas.
The upper field improvements will commence once there is an agreed upon price and the exact surface of the area to be upgraded is determined. A new well/water storage tank is also scheduled to be installed and placed into service in the next few weeks.
Superintendent Susan Sherwood announced that the Bond Oversight Committee has received six applications and they were all appointed: Helen Bauer, Paul Adams, Vince Andrus, Paul Schwarz, Russ Fisher, and Jill Ortiz. All six will be seated as “at-large” members. Two other applicants, who are “parents with school children currently enrolled” — Alena Mestaz and Haley Brown — were in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting and volunteered to fill two remaining seats.
The board approved a motion to establish the BOC. An eight-member committee would be optimal, Sherwood said, so it is not necessary to seek additional applicants.
Superintendent / teacher announces retirement
In other old business, Sue Sherwood announced that she would be retiring after the 2019-2020 school year. Sherwood’s retirement would create some budget challenges as she is currently serving as superintendent, principal, and teacher. A more immediate budget question was raised: Would an additional teacher be hired so that school could avoid having a combination class in 2019-2020?
There will be more discussion about these and other staffing issues at the next meeting (March 6). It was requested by school parents in attendance that the preliminary 2019-2020 budget be posted on the TRUS website so more parents could be informed on revenue and expenditures.
Partnering with homeschooling families
As a way to generate more revenue, board members and school administrators will be reaching out to established charter schools and local homeschoolers who might be interested in structuring their independent study through TRUS. Trustee Mark Frick said he knows several homeschoolers who would be interested in working with Three Rivers School, and they could also participate in after-school sports.
Sherwood said she would check with the Tulare County Office of Education as to what TRUS would be required to provide in terms of staff supervision. There will be more discussion re: district homeschoolers at the March 6 meeting.
A proposed project timeline for modernization of school buildings that could be undertaken with receipt of State building funds currently in an appeal process to determine if that amount will be $1.6 million or $2 million depending on whether TRUS qualifies as “hardship” after the passage of the recent bond issue.
Sherwood said that even with the State funds and the maximum made available by the sale of the bonds, more money would be needed for the current to-do list of modernization upgrades. It’s critical, she said that the projects are prioritized so the most pressing can go out to bid as soon as the money is available.
In the best-case scenario, construction on the first project could be started as early as June. That’s not a moment too soon as there are structural repairs that are needed in more than one of the classroom buildings.
On Monday morning, Feb. 4, a large tile fell from the ceiling in the first-grade classroom and landed next to a parent who was dropping off her child. Nobody was injured in this mishap, but more than one of the classrooms in the primary and junior high wings are showing water or structural damage.
Sherwood reported that Edmund Pena, TRUS maintenance supervisor, has repeatedly been up on the various roofs to make patch-work repairs.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6. Bond-related documents and budget information is currently available for public review at the TRUS office upon request.