Taking a look at McFarland's Measure B

Posted at 8:07 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 11:35:27-05

MCFARLAND, Calif. — On Tuesday the city of McFarland will be voting on Measure B, which aims to improve schools in the McFarland Unified School District. A 'yes' vote would approve $30 million in school facility bonds to build a new multipurpose room at McFarland HighSchool, and modernize infrastructure at two other elementary schools.

The McFarland School District has six schools in it, and Measure B has to do with three of them, Browning Road Steam Academy, Kern Avenue Elementary, and McFarland High School. The principle of the high school said his campus is in need of a new multipurpose room.

"We already have teachers that really strive to provide the best education we can for our community but at the same time how can you do that when you don't have the facilities to meet that need?" said principal Justin Derrick.

Mcfarland High School's multipurpose room is used as the campus' cafeteria, but the problem is it can only sit about 140 students at a time during lunch, a fraction of the school's nearly 1,000 member student body.

"When we start the school year out it's 110, 115 degrees, students are spread out throughout the campus, and they don't really have anywhere for shade," Derrick said.

Derrick said it's also problematic when it rains. That's part of why the school district is asking for the $30 million in bonds. $16 million of that money would be used to build the new multipurpose room, which has dining space for 1,000 students and can also be used for assemblies. But that's only part of the bond money, some would also go to Browning Road Steam Academy, an Elementary School.

"What we're asking for with Measure B is an opportunity to not just do some patch work at our school, but to completely renovate so they can have 21st century facilities," said Dario Diaz, the principal of Browning Road.

That to match the academy's 21st-century programs, including their Makerspace Lab with VR technology, and Fabrication Lab with 3D printing, which, at the time of 23ABC's visit, was constructing a prosthetic arm for a child in Porterville. Principal Diaz saying his school needs to structurally improve their facilities, one of which has been completely condemned due to safety concerns.

They say they also need to completely redo their roofing, something they have in common with Kern Avenue Elementary School, where stain spots were visible on the library's ceiling.

"It would mean just a much safer and inviting environment for all our students," said Mayela Bujanda-Medina, the principal of Kern Avenue.

Bujanda-Medina saying her school would also repair some of their cement walkways and plumbing.

Of course, along with any new bond measure, comes concern from some that their taxpayer dollars could be misused. McFarland Unified School District Superintendent Aaron Resendez saying they can only spend money on the projects at the three schools.

"None of these dollars can be used for salaries or any other projects," he said.
If approved, the bond would cost property owners $51 per $100,000 of assessed value per year. 55% of voters will have to vote 'yes' in order for it to pass on Tuesday.