Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Big changes are happening at Three Rivers Union  School.

TRUS one step closer to on-ballot bond measure

Anthony Ferranti


Three Rivers Union School board of trustees held a special meeting and public budget and LCAP adoption hearing Wednesday, June 27.
Superintendent recruitment set to begin
John Rodriguez of the Tulare County Office of Education gave a presentation detailing services his team can provide to the board in their search for a new TRUS superintendent/principal. Rodriguez went on to explain that TCOE will facilitate a recruitment process, creating custom job postings and advertising to attract applicants with the qualities and characteristics the TRUS board of trustees is looking for in a superintendent. 
Once a pool of candidates is determined, the TCOE would continue to assist in the hiring process, coordinating interview scheduling, developing interview questions, and serving as the point of communication with all applicants throughout the applicant review process. He also advised that the hiring of a superintendent is subject to the laws of California and the TCOE will ensure that all applicants are properly considered.
One potential challenge the board might face is that typically by this time of the year in the education field, candidates in the job market have often signed new contracts for the next school year. 
Once a final candidate has been selected, contract negotiations begin, and TCOE will step away, allowing the TRUS board of trustees along with their legal council to finalize a contract agreement. 
It was decided by the board that the first round of interviews would be held Saturday, August 4. 
General Election bond survey results
TRUS continues to await the results of their appeal to the application for a hardship grant, which if awarded, would help fund much needed re-roofing, modernization of classrooms, and upgrading of the transportation facilities. Meanwhile, the survey conducted by Isom Advisors to determine if there is adequate support from Three Rivers voters for a bond measure has been completed. 
Wednesday evening Rex Despain, a consultant with the financial advisory firm that serves California School Districts, presented the poll results. 
Despain opened his remarks with “only about a third of the people registered [as voters] have working phone numbers, so this is not a statistically significant or valid survey.” However, he went on to explain that the percentages between those likely to support a bond measure versus not are so disparate that even this small sampling, about 16  percent of the district voters, shows that placing a bond measure on the November ballot is not only feasible but is likely to pass. 
A majority of voters polled believe the school district is heading in the right direction overall. When educated on the specifics of what the bond measure would be funding, for instance, roof repairs and classroom modernization, support for the bond measure increased. Even when presented with the potential cost to property owners, which ranges between $19 to $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value, no votes actually decreased. 
“That’s unbelievable. I don’t see that very often… I don’t have an explanation,” Despain, candidly admitted to the board. 
Isom Advisors concluded that attaining a 55 percent of voter approval is very possible, which is the new level of voter approval needed after the passing of Proposition 39 in 2012. The next step is for the board to vote to proceed with drafting of the bond measure, which has to be  declared by August 10 to appear on the General Election ballot. 
Discussion about holding a vote was momentarily interrupted when board member George Kulick, who identified himself as a proponent for the bond, recommended waiting a week pending more information about their hardship grant appeal and compiling a prioritized list of specific projects needing immediate funding. 
The board decided to vote on whether to proceed with the bond measure at the next regular meeting on Wednesday, July 11 (a week later than usual due to the Fourth of July holiday). Meanwhile a phone meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 3, with the reviewer of the appeal, which may provide a clearer indication about the $1.8 million hardship grant funding. 
2018-2019 budget approved
The board members in attendance voted to approve the 2018-2019 budget, which includes the $9,543 per student cost to educate. The annual budget increased by nearly $116,000 from the previous year. 
New school year
Three Rivers Union School’s 2018-2019 school year begins Thursday, Aug. 16.