MODESTO — Enochs High sophomores may be splashing in their own pool as seniors after the Modesto City Schools board decided to go ahead with the project.
Board members voted 6-1, with Rubén Villalobos dissenting, to dive into building a basic aquatics facility at the school, using development fees being collected from north Modesto subdivisions to pay for it.
Villalobos did not speak against building the pool but said he wanted to maintain his consistent stand against the expense.
When the pool initially was proposed, Village I taxpayers protested the additional spending, and water polo players lobbied for it. But no members of the public rose to speak for or against the project Monday night.
The immediate cost approved is $134,000 in architect's fees to apply for state approval and create specifications to go out to bid.
The pool's cost under the design produced is $3 million, which includes the pool, night lighting and a single-occupancy unisex restroom. The pool would accommodate 10 25-yard competition lanes and "floating goal" water polo games.
Funding for the pool project comes from fees on new development in north Modesto and Riverbank, with $163,100 still to be collected there. If the money does not arrive by the time the pool is built, the district will need to front the money.
Board members also voted unanimously to eliminate or reduce 92 positions for support staff despite a warning from the union that reductions had not been negotiated as required.
"At no point did CSEA negotiate. The law in California requires you to negotiate this subject," said Marc Cryer, California School Employees Association labor relations representative. "Really, all we want to do is resolve this issue. We're largely in agreement with the district."
Talk of grievance
After the vote, Cryer said the union will be filing a grievance.
Aaron Castro, president of the Modesto chapter, said the positions being cut included title changes and vacant spots, or loss of funding for special programs. "There are going to be hours cut, but nobody's going to lose a job," he said.
Also passed with little discussion was the first reading of new policies on student fees. It will return next meeting for a final vote.
There was no comment on the policies' provisions that could result in charging for daily school bus service and rides to Regional Occupational Program classes.
Fees for teens in shop class to get eye goggles and a charge for gym clothes in the policy do not include required exemptions for low-income students.
In other matters, the board:
Tabled for a later date a decision on limiting speakers to three minutes, down from a maximum of five, during open public discussion and when discussing an agenda item. The only public comment was to urge the board to adopt three minutes to allow more speakers in the time allotted.
Heard there may be state funding for energy efficiencies that could work into upgrades and improvements for the district's older campuses.