Chico Independent School District will present a $7 million bond package to voters in the May 9 election.
The bulk of the money would be spent on a new ag barn and the land on which to build it, but if passed, the bond would fund improvements at all campuses.
“A team of community members has been looking at this since late 2013,” Superintendent Mike Jones said. “They looked at all of our facilities, and the consensus of that group was that we needed to purchase new land and construct a new facility closer to the school.”
Another $2 million would be used for new technology for the entire district and for new buses and vehicle replacements.
Just more than $2 million of the bond has been set aside for district school buildings, with the majority of that money going to Chico Middle School, the district’s oldest school building by 20 years.
Of the $1.3 million going to CMS, $580,320 will be dedicated to replacing the roof that currently leaks heavily, according to Jones. The new roof should last 20 to 25 years. Another $500,819 would go to replacing the middle school’s heating and air conditioning units.
The current units are more than 20 years old and require constant maintenance according to the bond information on the Chico ISD website. The new units would be more energy-efficient.
The bond also allows for the installation of energy efficient windows for the middle school.
Chico Elementary would receive $381,699 in upgrades while Chico High School would get $322,310.
At the elementary, $105,534 would be for security upgrades – doors, locks, card access and front entrance.
The same security upgrades would be made to the high school for a similar amount, and the high school would also receive a new parking lot costing $194,078.
“All schools would receive security upgrades,” Jones said. “Following shootings and other tragedies around the country, we want to make sure that Chico facilities are safe for our students, teachers and all faculty.”
Each campus would also be outfitted with interior and exterior security cameras.
Upgrades to the softball and baseball facilities are also included in the bond, for a total of $506,493.
The upgrades would include a new building for a concession stand and restrooms, shade canopies over the existing baseball and softball bleachers and a raise and regrade of the softball infield to eliminate ponding.
If the bond is approved, it would mean an 11-cent tax increase per $100 of property valuation or an additional $8.54 per month tax increase for a home valued at $108,111, the district’s average.
The bond plan originated with a Facility Review Committee, which included Chico ISD parents, students, principals, an architect and financial adviser, who created a list of items they felt needed to be addressed throughout the district. The school board then cut that list by about two-thirds, narrowing it to “high-priority” items.
At a bond informational meeting Tuesday, Jones said he has not been presented with any opposition to the bond.
“Chico has always been very careful when dealing with taxpayer money,” he said. “We’re not voting on field turf or anything frivolous; we are voting on things that we feel are essential to our school district.”
A second bond informational meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the Chico Elementary cafeteria.
Early voting is Monday, April 27, to Tuesday, May 5, at Chico City Hall at 400 South Hovey Street.
City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. all weekdays except Tuesdays, when it will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
BOND AT A GLANCE
AG BARN – $2,398,120
Of all the facilities at Chico ISD, the Facility Review Committee and school board identified the ag barn as the top priority. They decided that not only was a new building necessary, but it should also be built closer to the schools.
MIDDLE SCHOOL – $1,304,357
Built in 1989, the middle school building is 20 years older than the high school and elementary. A new roof and new heating and air conditioning units would account for $1,081,139, or 82 percent of the money dedicated to the middle school.
BUSES/TRANSPORTATION – $1,000,000
According to the bond package brochure, many Chico ISD vehicles are now requiring costly maintenance and are past their economically useful life. The bond would allow the school district to replace buses and vehicles on a phased schedule as the school board deems necessary.
TECHNOLOGY – $1,000,000
The high school currently offers iPads to every student, along with in-classroom smartboards. The money would upgrade this equipment.
SOFTBALL/BASEBALL FACILITIES – $506,493
A building for restrooms and a concession stand at the baseball/softball complex would cost around $179,361, while canopies for the fields’ bleachers would amount to $299,052. The purpose of the canopies would be to protect spectators from foul balls. Another $14,040 would go to the softball infield raising and regrading, and $14,040 would satisfy the ADA requirements involving handicap accessibility ramps and paving.
SECURITY – $431,672
Much of this money ($287,528) would go toward acquiring new security doors with card-access locks for all campuses. This would also include front entrance security at every Chico school. Interior and exterior cameras would make up another $66,456.