With school board elections coming up, it's important that voters know as much as they can about their candidates. At Glendora Patch, we'd like to offer voters an easily accessible and centralized place to meet each of their candidates in a weekly Q&A forum. Readers send in their questions for the candidates to answer.
There are three incumbents and two newcomers vying for two empty seats. With Election Day Nov. 8, we’re giving voters the opportunity to get to know their candidates for Charter Oak Unified School Board.
Candidate Q&A Question #2:
We have heard time and time again about our high school pool. It's such an eyesore and I'm concerned about the safety of students swimming in it. We have discussed this issue with the district before and it is only now I'm hearing the district actually talk about it. Why did we have to wait until the pool literally start to fall apart? What will it take before we can actually see a new pool?
We have discussed the condition of our pool on numerous occasions, more specifically the issue of whether it was losing water due to possible leakage or just natural evaporation. I don't believe the pool is an “eyesore.” Future consideration of updating or modernizing the pool must be placed in perspective of other facility improvements that need to be made.
Generally, the underlying criteria, to name a few, in deciding to invest approximately $1.5 million in a project must be based upon the safety issues first, number of students that will benefit from the investment, etc.
We did not have any prepared plans for its modernization, as we did for our football field and track. That project was able to move ahead to completion within a few months.
Charter Oak High School’s pool was built in 1964. I agree the pool is outdated and in need of a major facelift. We have asked staff to ensure to schedule a Master Facilities Planning meeting to provide an opportunity for our community to provide input as to the facilities related items they would like to see. We have encouraged the aquatics parents and boosters to be sure that they attend this meeting and be sure that a new pool is a part of this community input. During these difficult budget times it is very important to have a prioritized facilities needs list. This same group has said that they would like to start a fundraising effort. I have committed to providing community and business contacts that might support this effort.
The pools at Charter Oak High School are safe! If they were not safe, we would close them. The pools are old and tired. The governing board and the administration of the Charter Oak Unified School District have been involved with the pools and how they can best serve our students. We will discuss other ideas as we develop our plans that include our aquatics program. To replace the two pools has been informally estimated to cost between $2.5 million to $5 million depending upon how the pool(s) are built and what equipment is desired.
The District is going to develop a Facility Master Plan. The pools will be a significant topic of discussion as we plan for the future of our schools.
It is time to seriously look at our circa 1964 pool and you are seeing renewed interest in the pool by the current board because it is an election year. Mr. Akers, Mr. Cruz, and Mr. Probst know our pool has been non-CIF compliant since 1986. They are aware of severe leaks, heater problems, and pump failures but they already spent $36,000 for a new fence. Many parents were surprised that stimulus money was used to renovate our football field. I think $1 million from that extra stimulus money for an updated pool would have been nice. Parents-led group "Jumping In" are willing to help with fundraising as alternative sources of funding for projects--so let's work alongside them. The bottom line is our students deserve a new Aquatics facility.
Several people have talked publicly at board meetings about the pool … safety issues and viability for competitive events. With COUSD facing a $1 million 3rd-year budget shortfall, we need to approach the pool issue with caution.
One person has suggested fundraising rather than issuing another bond. I offered at the League of Women Voters Forum to help and intend to live up to that promise. A look back would suggest had there been a more conservative approach on projects like:
- Sunflower School parking lot
- No bid million dollar contracts with a huge contingency fund
- Better oversight on cost-overruns
we might be in a better position to address the pool. In the future, we need a tighter grip on the taxpayers’ wallet to achieve more.