By Aziza Jackson
LOS BANOS, Calif. — Thanks to funding from Measure X, a school bond measure approved by voters in June, the Los Banos Unified School District (LBUSD) is moving forward with plans to build a new elementary school.
For the past year, LBUSD has worked to identify critical facility needs that require attention to protect the local quality of education and help LBUSD students get college- and career-ready. After a thorough due-diligence assessment and planning effort, the LBUSD Board of Education took action on March 8 to place a local school bond, Measure X, on the June 2018 ballot.
The LBUSD administration and Board of Education identified $120 million of need within the district. According to LBUSD, overcrowding is the most significant issue the school district is currently facing, and additional classrooms must be constructed to keep pace with the growth in enrollment. Modernization, safety upgrades, and updating aging infrastructure will help keep pace with 21st century instruction.
LBUSD’s Measure X proposal seeks a more affordable $65 million in an effort to not increase homeowners’ property tax rate.
According to the MercedSun-Star, LBUSD officials have yet to name the new elementary school. It will reportedly be built to accommodate 990 students from kindergarten to sixth grade and will be ready by the start of the school year in 2020.
“Our elementary schools are bursting at the seams,” said Anthony Parreira, president of the Los Banos Unified School District Board to the Sun-Star, adding that officials are reportedly trying to get the new school built as soon as possible.
In addition to the construction of the new elementary school, Measure X will modernize existing outdated classrooms and labs to improve science, technology, engineering, math, and skilled trades instruction, including providing a new science wing at Pacheco High.
Measure X will also upgrade Loftin Stadium for improved safety and fitness/athletics programs, repair or replace aging, deteriorating roofs, plumbing, and electrical systems, and improve student safety by upgrading fire alarms, smoke detectors, emergency communications, fencing, security cameras, and drop-off/pick-up areas.
A report from the Merced Sun-Star contributed to this story.