TWENTYNINE PALMS — In 1949, Twentynine Palms Elementary School was newly built and a prized example of the local school district’s bright future, but it’s now 69 years old and wear and tear has taken a toll.

Many other public schools in the Morongo Basin also need major upgrades and renovations, according to Morongo Unified School District administrators.

“We have a great need to modernize,” said Sharon Flores, assistant superintendent for business services.

Flores visited the City Council meeting in Twentynine Palms Tuesday to urge support for bond Measure O.

The bond measure will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Voters will be asked to approve the sale of $62 million in bonds to pay for upgrades to facilities and equipment.

If passed, the general obligation bond would add $55 per $100,000 of assessed property value to property taxes every year for 30 years.

Flores said the school district needs to use bonds because schools don’t get funding that is specifically for facilities and the state does not provide money to districts that have not passed a local bond measure.

If Measure O is passed, MUSD will be eligible for $36 million in matching funds from the state, according to the school district.

Flores warned local schools also need security upgrades and improved fire alarms.

“We could lock schools down with a single button,” she said of new technology that could cost about $3 million to install. “We want to make sure we have the safest schools around.”

The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats also have needs, including new tennis courts and theater, Flores said.

“We are looking to improve our tracks and stadiums,” she added.

Councilman John Cole, who retired from the school district, remarked during the meeting he has witnessed local school buildings radically age.

“It’s scary, because when I came to Twentynine Palms High School it was only two to years old,” Cole said. “It is really a big issue.”

(5) comments

Blayd

New tennis courts, tracks and stadiums??? The heights of arrogance never cease to amaze me. Some folks will be forced out of their homes, others will need to move away, and yet more folks will have to do without, so that yet more luxury items can be added? NO, NO, NO!

Nescient One

Measure O is not a Bond, this is a deliberate misrepresentation to call it a Bond; it is the second targeted property tax this year. The working poor and people who cannot buy property will have higher rent to pay, because that's what happens when you target property for higher taxes. Measures Y and Z were half-cent sales tax increases that the Town of Yucca Valley made to finance the sewer project and roads, put another measure like those so that everybody supports our schools, not just poor renters and property owners. The reason they don't want to make a real tax-free Bond initiative is because the last one is in debt and they can't pay back investors. NO ON MEASURE O, yes on a half-cent sales tax initiative in 2020 election.

joetheplumber

Why don't they just charge the people who have children attending school. I think that everyone in the community benefits from an educated society but people without children shouldn't be forced to pay for extracurricular expenses. Maybe $100 per year per student by the parents of those students will cover it.

Blayd

Better yet: realistic priorities (sadly missing in the California Republic of Taxation). I wonder how many chools would benefit from funds currently being wasted on hi-speed train. Today's lesson with theatre thrown in: "The Comedy of Errors- The Tragedy of it All" - A one act play

Blayd

While sports, theatre can be great character builders, they are nonessential to the basic education our students need. Sports booster clubs can fund some bleachers, creativity is required for a theatrical production, not a fancy building (plenty of venues have fine performances in everything from a tent on up). As a taxpayer, I dersire to provide a proper education to our future generations. That said: there is a limit to what our communty can afford. Many of us now do NOT have proper police and fire protection, yet are being asked for yet more funds to pay for nonexistant services. Lets not confuse a school system with a cruise ship. Those that feel they are entitled to the best entertainment school can provide should disembark now.

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