Press Staff Writer
All three of McKinleyville’s elementary schools need renovation, according to school officials, and local voters will be asked to pass a $14 million school bond on June 3 to cover the costs.
Dena McCullough, Superintendent of the McKinleyville Union School District, pitched the bond to the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce at its Monday, March 3, meeting. The measure would result in an increase of $29.90 per $100,000 of assessed value for property owners residing within the school district’s boundaries.
Fifty-five percent of the voters must approve the bond in order for it to pass.
“The school board has been researching this for the last two years,” McCullough said. The school board hired consultants to write a report on the state of the school buildings and to gauge the community’s willingness to pay for needed renovations.
When a poll showed that 63% of local residents were willing to pass the bond, the school board gave the go-ahead to put the measure on the ballot. Three hundred households participated in the poll.
McCullough emphasized that the funds would be used only for renovation of existing buildings. No new facilities would be constructed, and no administrative costs, such as salaries, would be included.
McCullough said her highest priority was making sure that emergency vehicles could safely enter and exit all three schools. She also hopes to replace outdated school plumbing, water, and electrical systems, install energy-efficient windows, replace the roofs, and update science and computer labs.
“If you drive by any of the schools, they look pretty well maintained,” she said. “We have done a great job – by applying paint. It can hide a multitude of sins.”
McCullough would also like to see “an adequate gymnasium for the Middle School.” This, she said, would not be funded by the bond. She hopes that the school district and the Mckinleyvilel Community Services District Parks and Recreation Department could apply jointly for a state grant and share the 50% local matching fund requirement.
Chamber members also discussed the school district’s declining enrollment.
McCullough said that enrollment is dropping all over the county. Chamber President Ben Shepherd observed that family sizes are decreasing, and that new county residents tend to be older people without young children.
The bond, called Measure C, will appear on the McKinleyville June 3 ballot.