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School district to raise $649 million to build new schools

Gonzalez estimates cost of his 12-year plan

Students exit Madera High School after their first day of school Thursday. Madera Unified School District plans to build seven new schools within 12 years. (Wendy Alexander)



Madera Unified School District’s growing facilities needs, with the specter of even more portable classrooms, held center stage during its school board meeting this week.


Superintendent Ed Gonzalez revisited his 12-year plan for future school construction and gave trustees an idea as to where the $649 million would come from that would be needed to complete the plan.


Gonzalez first unveiled the building plan to trustees in January 2016 after they had requested a long-range building needs assessment in November 2015. At the board’s direction, Gonzalez followed this up with a series of public meetings aimed at sharing and gathering input from the community.


Absent, however, was how the district would come up with the money to implement the plan. That information was supplied at Tuesday night’s board meeting when Gonzalez revised the 12-year plan to include answers to the monetary questions.


According to Gonzalez’ plan, Madera Unified will build two new elementary schools, three middle schools (including a concurrent enrollment tech middle school) and two high schools over the next 12 years. It will also complete Madera South High School’s athletic facilities, build a new district office, construct a new adult education facility, and purchase 160 acres for a new educational complex, which will contain one of the two new elementary schools, one of the new middle schools, a fourth high school, and a stadium.


A ground-breaking ceremony for one of the projects, a planned $32.6 million facility for Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School, has already been set for 9 a.m. Thursday at 351 Lilly St. Once built, the school should accommodate 850 students, according to Babatunde Ilori, MUSD director of performance management and internal communications.

Recent history
Gonzalez gave the board the district’s recent school bond history and then provided a tentative chronology of the building plan.

 

  • 2006 — In November, the voters passed Measure U, a $32.5 million general obligation (GO) bond, to build two elementary schools, Parkwood Elementary and a Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School. The bond also allowed for the purchase of property for a third high school.

  • 2014 — In November, voters passed Measure G, a $70 million GO bond to build the new high school on Martin Street and Road 26.

  • 2016 — In December, Adult Education will move to a new location on West Cleveland Avenue.

  • 2017 — In June, artificial turf, an all-weather track and expanded bleachers will be installed at the MSHS football stadium. This will complete the athletic facilities improvement at MSHS. In August, Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School will open at Road 26 and A Street.

  • 2018 — A $110 GO bond will be placed on the ballot to build two middle schools (grades 6-8) and a concurrent enrollment tech middle school (grades 7-8).

  • 2019 — Madera Unified’s third high school will open for 9th and 10th graders.

  • 2020 — In August the concurrent enrollment tech middle school will open. The new high school will add 11th graders. In September, property for new district offices (10 acres) will be purchased.

  • 2021 — The new district offices will open and the new high school will add the 12th grade.

  • 2022 — In September the district will purchase 160 acres for an educational complex, which will contain a fourth high school, one of the new middle schools, an elementary school, and a stadium.

  • 2023 — In August, two new middle schools will open. All five of Madera Unified’s middle schools will convert to grades 6-8 configurations. All elementary schools will convert to K-5 configurations. One of the middle schools will be built in the educational complex.

  • 2024 — In November, a $150 million GO bond will be placed on the ballot to build Madera’s 4th high school, which will be constructed in the educational complex.

  • 2025 — Construction of the new elementary school will begin in the educational complex.

  • 2026 — Construction of the new high school will begin in the educational complex. In August, Madera’s 15th elementary school (K-5) will open in the educational complex.

  • 2028 — The new high school will open in the educational complex. The old Madera High School will be closed. Possible future uses include a technology magnet school, a performing arts magnet school, a middle school, etc.


Project funding
In his presentation to the board Tuesday night, Gonzalez gave the following funding sources for the projects in the 12-year plan.

  • Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School ($32.6 million): Measure U Bond, $18,5 million; State Matching Funds, $10.8 million; Fund 25 (Developer Fees), $3.3 million.

  • New high school at Martin St. and Road 26 ($165 million): Measure G Bond, $70 million; State Matching Funds, $39 million, Fund 41 (district general fund money for new construction), $46 million.

  • Concurrent Enrollment Tech Middle School ($35 million): Future Bond (2018), $23 million; State Matching Funds, $12 million.

  • Two comprehensive middle schools ($110 million): Future Bond (2018), $77 million; State Matching Funds, $30 million; Fund 41, $3 million.

  • Purchase of 10 acres for district office ($500,000): Fund 41, $500,000.

  • Construction of new district office of 60,000 sq. feet ($18 million): Fund 41, $18 million.

  • Construction of new adult education building at 1902 Howard Road ($10 million): Certificate of Participation (Fund 41), $10 million.

  • Purchase of 160 acres for future educational complex ($10 million): Future Bond (2018), $10 million.

  • Construction of new elementary school ($44 million): Future Bond (2024), $20 million; State Matching Funds, $13 million; Fund 41, $11 million.

  • Construction of fourth high school ($220 million): Future Bond (2024), $130 million; State Matching Funds, $55 million; Fund 41, $27 million; Fund 25 (Developer Fees), $8 million.



John Rieping of The Madera Tribune contributed to this story.