Trustees Postpone Bond Vote : Camarillo: A measure for renovation and construction of schools may not reach the ballot until 1993.
Pleasant Valley Elementary School District officials decided Thursday to postpone asking voters to approve a bond issue for renovations and new construction of Camarillo schools, possibly until 1993.
Without the money, officials said, schools may have to hold double sessions, move district boundaries, add the sixth grade to junior high schools to make middle schools or evict tenants such as the YMCA day-care program to free up classroom space.
Other alternatives include holding year-round sessions, teaching classes in gymnasiums, cutting programs or consolidating computer and science labs that were added recently to enhance the curriculum, officials said.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to have district staff find ways of handling overcrowding next year. Only 63 desks remain vacant in the district’s 13 schools, and enrollment has been increasing by 250 students a year, or half a school’s population, officials said.
But given the failure of two recent ballot measures and the bad timing of a special election scheduled for April 14, the school board voted to wait until the economy improves to lobby for funding. School board members had considered asking voters once again to approve $55 million to upgrade the district’s 13 elementary schools and build a new one in eastern Camarillo.
If voters voice enough support for another bond measure, trustees said they would consider putting it on a June, 1992, ballot.
“If they’re there for it, I’ll put my heart and soul into it . . . but we can’t do it alone,” said Trustee Jan McDonald.
The board’s vote reflected the recommendation of the Facilities Committee and Supt. Shirley Carpenter, who pointed out that April 14 is one day before income taxes are due, four days after property taxes are due, and two days after spring break.
To place the question on a special election ballot would cost $45,000, while a regular election ballot costs only $9,000, officials said.
But Norman Bauer, parent of three, urged the trustees not to delay the bond issue. “Many times people pull together in a recession,” he said.
Trustee Leonard J. Caligiuri agreed that the timing is bad to ask voters for the third time in a year to pass the bond issue.
McDonald cautioned that Woodcreek Elementary School, which was scheduled to open in the fall of 1993, will not open without a bond issue, and yet another new elementary school may be needed.
If the student population is divided into two groups for double sessions, one going to school in the morning and one in the afternoon, Caligiuri said, “I’m sure it will not be beneficial, but the district’s obligation is to house and educate public school children. If that’s the only option we have, it’s one we’ll have to look at.”
A majority of voters have supported two previous ballot measures, one for $55 million in November and another in June for $75 million, the largest in county history. But both votes failed for lack of a two-thirds majority, the most recent losing by only 2%.
Voters have sent the district a clear message that they acknowledge the need for the money, but because of the recession, it is unlikely the measure would pass, Carpenter said.