School Bond Panel to Hold 1st Meeting

At least 35 people have joined a Conejo Valley school bond review committee, which will make recommendations to trustees if the district's $97-million bond measure passes April 14.

The group--made up of parents from each school, administrators, union representatives and a handful of city residents--will meet for the first time Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Conejo Valley Unified School District board room.

The committee members are meeting to introduce themselves and discuss their mission, said Assistant Supt. Gary Mortimer.

If Measure V passes in three weeks, some of the projects, such as paving parking lots, painting cracked walls and fixing broken underground pipes, could begin right away, Mortimer said.

The same night, a new group called the Thousand Oaks Citizen Action Network is meeting to debate the bond measure.

The forum at 7 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Library is open to the public and will be broadcast on public access television.

School board trustee Elaine McKearn is expected to attend, but no administrators have committed to appear.

One of the citizen network members, Debbie Gregory, accused the district of not wanting to meet on someone else's turf.

Mortimer denied that, saying the citizens group did not give the district enough notice. He said he has already discussed the bond at five or six meetings--at churches and at Amgen--which were not district-sponsored.

"We've had opponents at every meeting we've held," he said. "And I've answered about 200 phone calls on the topic. I have no problem talking to people who may or may not agree."

The citizens group was formed in a member's living room about five months ago as a reaction to the unsuccessful recall campaign of City Councilwoman Elois Zeanah. The group, which now has 50 members, meets at least once a month to discuss city issues and decided to host a bond forum in that vein, said Vice President John Relle.

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