Alexander Valley School

Measure B asks for $6 million for new buildings, health and safety repairs

In the 150 years the Alexander Valley School has been in existence, the district has never attempted to get bond money for school repairs and construction. That will change on June 5, when residents of their district will be asked to approve Measure B, a $6 million general obligation bond.

Among the projects the district plans to create with the funds is a complete replacement of the crumbling, 50-year-old Kindergarten portable classroom, and create a multipurpose room for use by students and the community alike at the Kindergarten through sixth grade school.

“There had been talks over the past 40 years on doing a bond measure in our district. One of the first things I noticed when unpacking boxes when I moved in two years ago, is documents from 1981 talking about building a multi-purpose room,” said Matthew Reno, Superintendent and Principal. “It’s been talked about a long time. Every 10 or so years, since 1981, there’s been a new plan drawn up, the board talked about it, but the timing didn’t seem right.”

That changed over the last 18 months or so, as the board and the community discussed the possibility of a bond measure, and the Alexander Valley School Board felt more confident about asking their community for help.

“We exhausted a lot of different avenues,” Reno said. “We investigated capital campaign monies, but private firms weren’t able to take us because of public entity (issues), and we didn’t qualify for state and local funding due to previous modernization in some of our classrooms. The only avenue left for major construction expenses would be seeing if the community would be open to a bond. We did a survey and heard loud and clear that there would be folks that would support this bond.”

“We also noticed that since 2012, Healdsburg, which is the district where we feed into, has had two bonds to the tune of $102 million,” he continued. “Those were voted on by Alexander Valley voters, with 61 percent approving. We feel that if our voters are supporting Healdsburg, where our students eventually go, it was worth looking at our facilities and see if they would like the opportunity to vote on it.”

Measure B will create an estimated tax rate per property owner of $28.25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year. The funds raised can only be used for school construction projects. In addition to the multi-purpose room and new Kindergarten class room, the district also envisions modernizing classrooms, restrooms and school facilities and making various health and safety improvements.

“We have a Kindergarten portable room that is approximately 50 years old,” Reno said. “It was set up as a temporary building and 50 years later it’s in need of replacement. In addition, we are the only school in area does not have a multi-purpose room. During rainy days or hot days or poor air quality days, such as during the fires, or when we have wet blacktop, safety concerns require us to not have P.E. classes where students are active. Between December of 2018 and February of 2018 we had 37 days, or 20 percent of school days, where we didn’t have PE sections available for students. And, (since) we have no assembly meeting area, when we have monthly theme assemblies we have to have them on the blacktop. Same with back to school night, which makes us really vulnerable to the weather. We are not able to hold evening functions at our school to due to a lack of facilities.”

Reno added that he and the board also envision the multi-purpose space being made available for community programs and events, including the adult English As A Second Language classes currently being housed in a classroom several nights a week.

Reno also points out that unlike most schools in the Sonoma County, the district is not facing shrinking enrollment. In fact, it had a 31-person long waiting list for this year’s Kindergarten class, and has wait lists of various lengths at every grade level.

Reno says that while the district was approved to ask for up to $8.7 million in their bond, they want to carefully watch their bottom line, and are hopeful that the final price tag for the needed improvements will come in under the $6 million mark.

Alexander Valley School was named the number one elementary school in Sonoma County on the 2018 niche.com listings. There is more information about Measure B and a page of Frequently Asked Questions, on the school’s website at http://alexandervalleyusd.org/.

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