Taking a look at Measures A and C, which affect Wasco schools

Posted at 6:53 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 10:43:05-05

WASCO, Calif. — On Tuesday California voters are going to be deciding on more than just presidential candidates. There are also a few different measures that affect specific Kern County communities.

Measures A and C have to do with public schools in Wasco. A aims to construct a new gymnasium and related facilities for Wasco Union High School, which is the only high school in the city. Measure C aims to make safety improvements to schools in the Wasco Union Elementary School District, as well as upgrade classrooms and P.E. facilities. Some asking for the money because they haven't had luck getting funds from Sacramento.

"We've been using our own money, our own citizens care more about our schools, obviously, than the state does," said Kelly Richers, Superintendent of the Wasco Union Elementary School District.

Richers' district is asking for $16 million in school facility bonds for the upcoming election. The money would go toward upgrading modular classrooms into actual buildings, it would build P.E. fields at the corner of Highway 46 and Poplar Avenue, and perhaps most importantly according to Richers, it would improve safety for students at Karl F. Clemens Elementary School, whose students typically exit school near Broadway Street.

"Broadway is not a broad way. It might have been in 1928 when the school was built but right now it's a very narrow street with parking on both sides, and small elementary children spill out of here when parents try to pick them up," he said.

Richers says the money from the measure would allow them to build a student drop off and pick up zone that is off-street. That's what Wasco residents will be voting for with prop C. Then there's prop A which deals with Wasco Union High School, which recently had a major facelift.

"It has almost completely been modernized with the exception of a gym. The gym, and two additional classroom buildings," said Robert Cobb, Assistant Superintendent of the Wasco Union High school district

Prop A would provide nearly 39 million dollars to fund the construction of a brand new 2,000-seat gymnasium near the corner of 5th Street and Poplar Avenue, complete with new locker rooms. The funds would also modernize their existing gymnasium, so simultaneous events could happen in both gyms.

"The existing locker rooms of the existing gymnasium are so old, they were constructed in the mid-40s and they've been very difficult to maintain for the plumbing infrastructure that's there," Cobb said.

Those locker rooms would be turned in to new exercise rooms. Both measures A and C are going to be on the March 3 ballot.

The Kern Taxpayer's Association vets and takes positions on each bond measure. The association supports both Measures A and C, saying they'd both use taxpayer dollars responsibly. Each measure would cost property owners $30 per $100,000 of assessed value.

The association does not support state Proposition 13, which is 15 billion dollars in bonds for public schools in California.