October 1, 2013

Enochs High pool going to bid

Modesto City Schools moves ahead with building the Enochs High pool.

Enochs High School water polo players will be scoring points at home soon.

The Modesto City Schools board voted 6-1 on Monday night to dive into the bidding process to build the pool, now expected to cost $3 million.

Board member Rubén Villalobos cast the dissenting vote, saying the money could instead be released to lower the extra property taxes paid by Village I homeowners. The pool accounts for about $20 out of the $350 in extra taxes levied on most Village I homes to build schools.

Any money saved, however, could be returned to help taxpayers, whose children do go to Enochs, Amy Neumann said. “They could get a pool and there would be money left to pay down the debt,” the board member said.

“Much controversy. It’s time we fish or cut bait, as they say. When (Enochs High) was designed, there was a pool,” said Steve Grenbeaux before casting his vote.

There has been much controversy about the special taxes, with an independent legal review concluding that Village I taxpayers had been charged millions more than a founding document allowed. The Schools Infrastructure Financing Agency, however, which administers the taxes, disputes the finding.

The board moved ahead in April to hire an architect to design the pool, saying they would not build until sufficient money was saved from extra taxes and development fees, envisioned to be several years.

But plans from Tim Huff and Associates came in cheaper than expected, and with an improving real estate picture, the district has all but $48,100 in the bank to cover the expense.

The remaining funds will come from a development in Stanislaus Union School District territory, which does not attend Enochs. That area was to pay 28percent of the pool’s cost, or $851,100. Village I contributed 52percent, $1.6 million. Riverbank builders and homeowners have also paid their 19percent allotment of $582,600.

The project includes the 10-lane pool, night lighting and a single-occupancy unisex restroom. No estimate of when the pool would be finished or the cost for heating and maintenance was available Monday.

In other business, the board held a hearing on a renewal application from Aspire Vanguard College Preparatory Academy Charter School, housed in the former Teel Middle School in Empire. A vote will come later, after staff reviews the application.

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