South San Francisco Unified School District, The Community, and Measure J; Update
The South San Francisco Unified School District Board met on Thursday September 13th with part of the agenda focusing on the Measure J bonds. The meeting was held at the City Council Chambers on Arroyo and was televised for the general public on the community channels. (Televised meetings happen four times a year.)
This meeting was heavily attended with standing room only as students, parents, teachers, coaches, alumni and others came to hear the update on how the funds from Measure J will be spent. There is much frustration within the community over the dilapidated, and many believe unsafe, sports fields at our schools, especially at South San Francisco High School and El Camino High School. This has been an issue for years and excitement was pumped up when the Measure J bond issue passed in November 2010.
The question on the ballot:
Measure J: To provide safe, modern classrooms and educational support facilities by replacing deteriorated portable classrooms with permanent classrooms; repairing deteriorated roofs; providing disabled students access; upgrading science labs, libraries, technology and restrooms; enhancing safety, fire detection and security systems; improving energy efficiency; replacing outdated electrical, plumbing, and heating systems, shall South San Francisco Unified School District issue $162,000,000 in bonds at legal interest rates, with citizen oversight, annual audits, no money for administrators’ salaries, and all funds benefiting local schools?
While the SSFUSD has partnered with Chevron to take advantage of solar panels on our schools, those in the athletic world continue to petition for the needed upgrades to our playing fields and facilities.
The September 13 meeting allowed the landscaping architect s to showcase what they have in mind with the Phase I concentrating on improvements to the track and football fields at the high schools.
Because our playing fields have been so long ignored, El Camino High School Football Coach Jake shared his insight, “We have seen what school bonds have done for other school districts. There are two High Schools on the Peninsula that have dirt tracks, and they are both in our district. We have seen high schools without a Football program get beautiful fields which remain un-used and not they are not apprieciated. Our field at El Camino has remained the same since John F Kennedy was in office, and Johnny Cash had the number one hit on the billboard charts. I think it is time our student/athletes have the type of athletic facility they deserve. The voters of the SSFUSD voted for Measure J to improve our schools and athletic fields. I hope the School Board does the right thing and pass Phase one for El Camino which would bring us the field and track that we have been only able to dream of.”
A National Football League grant has matched monies for South San Francisco High School’s field and both high school fields will be the top priority this summer. South City High is looking for 1,000 person bleachers, a new swimming pool (8 lanes), synthetic turf softball and baseball fields, as well as football and soccer facilities.
Some of the items on El Camino High’s wish list drawing board include 700-person bleachers with additional seating available, along with new basketball courts, a full-size baseball diamond, new soccer, and football and track facilities.
The next community workshop will be held September 19 at Ponderosa Elementary School Multipurpose Room 6:00pm to 8:00pm and will give the public the opportunity to help the District finalize the Master Planning process for Measure J. Topics to be discussed include
*Effects of Educational Specifications
The Board is expected to vote on Phase I on the regular School Board Meeting set for Thursday October 25, 2012
Phase II of measure J will be presented on Tues day October 11 at the City Council Chambers 33 Arroyo 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Everyone is encouraged to attend these meetings to follow the process of the Measure J funds of $162 Million and to have their views and opinions shared.
More information contact the South San Francisco Unified School District office at (650) 877-8700 or the SSFUSD website http://ssfusd.ca.schoolloop.com/