Sonora, CA — Amid accusations of lying and possibly being slapped with a lawsuit, the Sonora Union High School District Board approved a construction phase plan for the $23 million Measure J bond money. There were five plans to choose from and the board voted three to two in favor of the architects preferred plan. It calls for compressed construction which will start on March 31, 2014 and end on December 2, 2016. Most of the nearly three years of construction will be done over the summer months so that no temporary classrooms will be needed. Board Members Rob Lyons and Katryn Weston voted against the plan calling for more time to review the options and receive more clarification.
Former Sonora High Teacher Angela Brown was at the meeting and agrees the board needs more time to consider all the options. She is a staunch critic of the way the Measure J bond was presented to the voters and is even threatening a lawsuit challenging whether the money can be spent on a pool. She says she is angry and feels she was lied to.
“The Board and the Superintendent willfully deceived the voters of Sonora High School District by not putting the aquatic center on the bond. That is why I am upset,” says Brown.
Sonora High School Superintendent Mike McCoy denies the charge. He says the Humanities Building was never specifically mentioned in the bond language either and it is one of the construction projects. He believes there is a lot of misinformation out there and there needs to be more communication with the public.
“If I do my job as a communicator, I think they (voters) will see we have identified the most important projects with a balanced education setting. My number is in the phone book and I am going to take any opportunity to speak about the projects whether it’s at Rotary, Kiwanis, or coffee klatches in my office,” says McCoy.
A meeting has been set up on October 22 with the architect and School Board President, but it is by invitation only. Brown and others at tonight’s meeting argued there should be a public meeting to answer all voters concerns. McCoy plans to set up smaller meetings to address concerns.
Here is an outline of the Preferred Phase Plan the board approved:
Phase One: Pre-construction begins March 31, 2014 for the Humanities Building and Track and Field. Demolition and construction of the Humanities Building will begin June 9, 2014 and run through July 31, 2015. There will be 60 days of pre-construction and 300 days of construction. Track and Field construction will start March 31, 2014 and be completed by August 1, 2014. A bond sale is scheduled for May of 2014. Alternate facilities would be needed for spring sports and the commencement ceremony.
Phase Two: Construction on the Cafeteria begins January 5, 2015 and will be completed in 150 days on July 31, 2015. Another bond sale is scheduled for May of 2015.
Phase Three: Construction of Centennial Hall and Pool will begin June 8, 2015 and be completed on August 29, 2016. Construction on the new tennis courts will begin July 29, 2016 and be completed by December 2, 2016.