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September 27, 2012

Bids sought to design Enochs High pool in Modesto

The Modesto City School district is moving quickly ahead with plans to build a swimming pool at Enochs High School, despite some public concern about its estimated $3.5 million price tag and ongoing worries about further cuts to the district's budget.

Modesto City Schools trustees will be asked to approve hiring an architect to design a pool for Enochs High, diving into a timetable that would have swimmers in the water a year and a half from now.

The report for Monday night’s agenda does not list a cost for the architectural services. It continues to assume the pool would cost $3.5 million, a figure district officials have said was based on extensive renovation done at a pool at another school.

The district does not yet have $3.5 million to build the Enochs pool using extra taxes paid by homeowners in newer north Modesto subdivisions.

Despite earlier assurances the pool would not be built until the district had the money in hand, this report indicates the district would advance $370,650 from other funds to cover the gap until taxes arrive over the next five years.

The report suggests the district tap into vehicle replacement funds or high school developer fees for the in-house loan.

Modesto already is borrowing from its various pockets to cover monthly payroll as state payments lag. Earlier this month, the district got board approval to take a loan from the county to cover its cash flow needs if the district’s liquid reserves ran dry.

In other business, the board will be asked to approve paying its insurance bills. Total cost is $885,690, a 29 percent increase from last year, principally reflecting higher liability coverage costs.

The Modesto City Schools board meets at 6 p.m. Monday in the staff development center, 425 Locust St. The agenda is at http://bit.ly/MCSmeetings.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339.

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