SHUSD Board Moves Forward on Modernization Projects

An architect's rendering shows the front of South Fork High School's planned new gymnasium. (Siskiyou Design Group)

An architect's rendering shows the front of South Fork High School's planned new gymnasium. (Siskiyou Design Group)

The Southern Humboldt Unified School District Board of Trustees were presented with updates on the plans to improve the gym at South Fork High School and to upgrade Redway School at a special meeting on May 26.

Architect Guy Fryer of Siskiyou Design Group was at the meeting accompanied by designers Seth Curry and Israel Salcedo, along with district contractor Dirk Dinsmore of Dinsmore Construction, to discuss the projects.

Fryer reported the high school gymnasium complex project design had been completed and submitted to the Division of the State Architect (DSA). Fryer said he hoped to receive DSA approval sometime in August.

“Basically the guts of that project are a new weight room, a new wrestling room, a new lobby at the front of the gymnasium, and a lot of site work. The rest of the building is going to be completely renovated, including locker rooms, dressing rooms, team rooms. There will be a new snack bar at the back of the gymnasium.” He added that the music room and nearby bathrooms were part of the project, and the gym itself would be renovated.

“It’s a comprehensive renovation of the gym complex,” he said.

The board discussed the details of the gym plans with Fryer and Dinsmore for awhile.

Fryer also updated the board on preliminary work on plans for modernization at Redway School. He said the classrooms would be renovated, and listed the modernizations that would be made. Some of the changes at the Redway School site are still to be determined.

District administrator Catherine Scott reported that the district had received two bids for painting the exteriors of district school sites and she had rejected both bids, which were from painters in Southern California. She said the painting project would go out for bid in “smaller pieces,” and the window of time for the work to be done might need to be widened, because local painters were already booked for the summer.

The board approved a bid from Wahlund Construction for $95,800 for underground work at Agnes J. Johnson School in Weott that includes sewer lines, storm drains, and water lines. 

The projects discussed are to be paid from bond funds.

Scott commented that she had texted Greg Isom, the district’s bond financial advisor.

“He said we could sell the remaining $4 million this fall, probably. Then he wanted to know if we needed it this fall and I said no, but shortly thereafter, probably,” she reported.

Other Business

District transportation director Karl Terrell asked the board to declare three old district school buses as surplus because they were rarely used and required maintenance. He said he got a bid from Bus West for $2,500 for them. 

After the board moved to declare the buses surplus, Terrell asked that the money be put toward the purchase of a new Thomas Built propane bus. Terrell said that with the $35,000 left over in the transportation budget the remaining cost of the bus could be financed for $23,439 annually over five years.

“With our budget that we have now, and I’d like to say that we are pretty fortunate for the portion that we get for people transportation in Southern Humboldt, we’re a good 32 percent higher than anybody in this county, of every school district. I hope that by investing in the future we can do that and I hope I can get approval of buying a new bus from the board,” Terrell concluded.

The board voted to approve the purchase.

Scott presented the state required Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) update template for 2016-2017. She explained that she had added a third goal to the plan that would provide for parents and stakeholders to participate in decision making.

This led to a discussion between Scott and the board about the School Attendance Review Board program (SARB). She explained SARB’s goal is to increase attendance through various methods that reduce absences and truancy.

The board approved the LCAP update template.

District budget technician Vanessa Fouquette presented the Budget Adoption Report for its first reading by the board. The report covered the financial and budgetary status of the district for the 2016-2017 fiscal year and subsequent two projected years. Fouquette reported that based upon current projections the district will meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year and the projected two fiscal years and is filing positive.

The report indicated there will be a gradual decrease in district reserves over those years, from 14.03 percent in 2016-2017, to 10.72 percent in 2017-2018, and then to 8.01 percent in 2018-2019. The district’s minimum reserve calculation is four percent.

In the correspondence agenda item, the board acknowledged receipt of a letter from parent Ann Hammond that asked the board to form a committee to investigate the cause of high staff turnover and “investigate charges of hostile management,” but did not acknowledge Hammond’s request or comments.