Fresno Unified School District is considering putting a new bond measure for facilities on the ballot in 2024, officials said at Wednesday’s board meeting.
There is no information yet as to how large a bond measure would go before voters and which projects would be targeted, chief operations officer Paul Idsvoog told GV Wire.
“We haven’t even started the preliminary conversations in regards to getting the teams together. We haven’t run any of the numbers yet. So all of that will be dictated as we move forward,” Idsvoog said.
The district’s past bond measures include the $325 million Measure M that voters approved in March 2020, the $225 million Measure X that voters approved in 2016, and the $280 million Measure Q that voters approved in 2010.
Fence for Bullard High
Trustee Claudia Cazares asked Idsvoog if the district’s discussions about facility projects could include a security fence for Bullard High School. It’s the only high school in the district to have only a waist-high chain-link fence on its perimeter, which has raised safety and security concerns.
The board in February 2021 voted down spending $1.2 million to replace Bullard’s fence, citing “racist” comments that then-Trustee Terry Slatic made about the school’s diversity being tied to school safety.
Idsvoog said the project was being “tweaked” in response to feedback from Bullard’s new School Board member, Susan Wittrup, and from other members of the Bullard community.
“Before we knee jerk and put something in place just to put it in place without it being the right thing, we’re going to coordinate,” he said. “I will meet with Trustee Wittrup first, and then we’ll talk about how maybe we can make sure that we put the right fence in place there.”
‘Equity Lens’ for Projects
Trustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas, who attended the meeting virtually, said that the district needs to use an “equity lens” when deciding how to spend facility dollars.
Instead of trying to balance the money spent among the trustee regions, the district also needs to consider that some schools have greater needs and should be considered for a bigger share of available funds, she said.
“I just wanted to reiterate that it’s not just about region-by-region spending or trying to spread it around,” she said. “If we’re really going to address the inequities in our system, we need to have an equity lens to that and to find some schools are in way worse condition overall and need more major overhauls.”
Trustee Keshia Thomas said schools with greater needs include some of the district’s older “specialty” schools such as Computech, Manchester GATE, and Bullard Talent. “We never pour any money into those older schools,” she said.