GUSD

A new bond measure to help repair and revitalize Geyserville schools will be hitting the ballots next month.

Measure A will create approximately $22 million in monies from bond sales for the purpose of repairing and replacing outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; modernizing outdated classrooms, restrooms and school facilities; and repairing or replacing leaky roofs. The levies will be approximately 4.4 cents per $100 of assessed value, generating approximately $1.3 million annually.

“To be honest, I’ve been thinking about it ever since I started here,” said Deborah Bertolucci, superintendent of the Geyserville Unified School District and principal of the Geyserville New Tech Academy.  “I noticed that there were some items that weren’t addressed before with the last bond, and just some items that I believe were missing.  Our architect did a facilities needs assessment and came up with a list of facility improvements that were needed.”

The Geyserville Unified School District has four schools at two sites, serving approximately 230 students. The elementary school serves students in grades TK through five. The Geyserville New Tech Academy houses middle school grades six through eight, high school grades nine through 12 and a continuation high school for grades nine through 12.

On the ballot documents, an argument in favor of measure A is endorsed by various locals and the school district itself, and there is no official opposition to measure A.

The accountability requirements of the measure include a certification of an evaluation of needs from the school district (already completed), the creation of an independent citizens oversight committee and annual, independent financial and performance audits.

In addition, none of the funds can be used for salaries or other operating expenses, but rather can only be used for “the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities and the acquisition or lease of school facilities and not for any other purpose,” according to the text of the measure.

“Improvements to both school sites give the Geyserville Unified School District the opportunity to modernize our facilities,” Bertolucci said. “The modernized buildings and campuses will offer the district capacity for growth for students and community. The purpose of the improvements is to provide modern and attractive teaching facilities to serve our students.”

A specific list of projects that could be financed with bond proceeds is included in the measure language, and they include:

  • Repair or replace outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Repair or replace leaky/deteriorating roofs
  • Improve student access to computers and modern technology, including providing all necessary infrastructure, hardware, software, computers, devices and other modern instructional equipment
  • Upgrade inadequate plumbing, sewer and irrigation systems
  • Make improvements to school safety and security, including fire alarms, sprinkler systems, school communication systems, security cameras, surveillance systems, lighting and fencing
  • Modernize/renovate outdated classrooms, restrooms and school facilities to meet century educational standards, including providing updated furnishings and other equipment to facilitate a modern learning environment
  • Make health and safety improvements, such as replacing aging building materials, including removal of hazardous materials identified either prior to or during construction including asbestos, and seismic reinforcements
  • Replace inadequate wiring and electrical systems to meet current electrical and accessibility codes, increase capacity, and relieve currently overloaded electrical systems.
  • Replace outdated windows and lighting
  • Replace temporary portables with permanent classrooms
  • Ensure and upgrade handicapped accessibility to District facilities, including to meet all federal and state-mandated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility to schools, and as mandated by the Division of the State Architect (DSA), including upgrades to site access, parking, staff and student restrooms, relocation of certain existing electrical devices, drinking fountains, playground equipment, and other necessary improvements.
  • Upgrade/improve/construct P.E. fields, playgrounds, play structures and similar facilities for school and community use
  • Improve energy efficiency including by installing solar panels
  • Upgrade, expand, construct, repair and/or equip school facilities, including library/media centers, labs, multipurpose rooms, and other school facilities.
  • Renovate, repair, expand and/or upgrade the interior and/or exterior of existing outdated classrooms, restrooms and school facilities
  • Modernize outdated classroom interiors including new paint, carpet/vinyl, white marker boards, tackable surface and increased secure storage capacity for instructional materials and equipment
  • Improve/install covered walkways at school sites
  • Federal and State-mandated Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety upgrades, including playground equipment replacement
  • Upgrade, repair and/or expand school site parking, roadways, grounds and other infrastructure such as utility systems, including installing exterior lighting, repairing pathways, walkways, ADA access ramps and installing/ improving landscaping

There is also a provision to cover so-called “incidental costs” related to construction, including things like design and architecture, demolition and disposal, storage during construction, and unforeseen repairs discovered during construction.

“Our facilities are in fair condition and upgrades are necessary for improved conditions,” Bertolucci said. “Upgrades are needed to the campus security and camera system; classroom upgrades to include electrical, windows, carpet, technology and new furniture; new well at Geyserville New Tech Academy; replace building roofs at both sites; upgrade culinary, construction and (agricultural) science classrooms to meet the needs of our Career Technical Education programs, as well as upgrading both sites with drought resistant landscaping.”

Some of these projects stem from damaged sustained by the district during recent natural disasters.

“Due to the 2017 and 2019 fires our well at Geyserville New Tech Academy was compromised. We now must test water daily for contaminants. The need for a new well is a priority to ensure safe drinking water for staff and students,” Bertolucci said.

According to Bertolucci, should Measure A pass, the district will have access to the first sale of bonds, likely $5-$6 million, before the summer, and they hope to complete some projects this year. Bertolucci also said that they expect the measure to pass, given the degree of community support.

“Our schools are our greatest assets in the community, and this bond will take our schools to the next level,” said Bertolucci. “A lot of the projects have community use with them as well, so it's not just for the students, it's for Geyserville.”

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