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Board Awards OHS Pool Bid
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The Oakdale High School Aquatic Center project is officially moving forward and will have its ceremonial groundbreaking today, Wednesday, Oct. 14. The Oakdale Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees awarded the bid for the aquatic center to Diede Construction, Inc. in the amount of $2.96 million at the Oct. 12 regular meeting.

This project is being funded from project savings from the Sierra View Elementary School project of more than $2 million, with the balance coming from developer fees. Total cost for the project will be slightly over $3 million.

OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Business Tim Hern reported that there was a successful bid process with 42 bid packets requested, and 13 bid packages received. Hern said that the Diede bid was the lowest, responsible bid. The highest bid on the project was $3.62 million.

There were a couple of protests filed on the bid that were received the morning of Oct. 12, but after having the district’s legal counsel review the protests it was decided that the district still had a legitimate and qualified low bid with Diede. Bid protests filed with public agencies in this economic climate have become more prevalent than in prior, more prosperous years.

This project was described as “a Cadillac of pools” as it will feature a Colorado timing system that uses touch pads and flashes times on a screen, an ornamental iron fence instead of chain link fencing, a barrel vault shade structure, metal roofing instead of a canopy above showers, and lighting for the pool area. It will be located north of the football stadium, east of the main gym, and south of the old gym on the OHS campus in an area that previously included an asphalt courtyard area.

The aquatic center is planned to be completed in the Fall of 2010. Hern said it will be dependent on the winter and rain delays, but they hope to have the pool open and ready when the water polo season starts in September.

The ball got rolling on the pool project initially with the 2002 school bond; however, with higher construction costs at the time the district had to prioritize and the pool project was moved down the list, but still remained a goal.

At the start of the meeting, after the board came out of closed session, Superintendent Fred Rich reported that he had received a number of e-mails from people concerned about the cancellation of the high school’s annual Homecoming parade asking for reinstatement of the long-standing tradition. The parade was cancelled this year due to liability insurance requirements.

Board president Mike Tozzi said that the board members found out about the parade cancellation from a front page article in The Leader. The board requested that district staff find a way to restore the parade.

“All of us believe that tradition is important in the school district,” Tozzi added in response to the parade issue.

In other business, the board approved an increase in the Level II school facilities fees from $3.94 per square foot to $4.18 per square foot. These fees come before the school board annually for review.

Also in business matters, Hern stated in his First Quarter Developer Fee report that there has been some building in Oakdale and that the district has received just over $94,000 in developer fees.

In reports, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Barbara Shook presented the district’s 2009 accountability report. Superintendent Rich stated that the district has made “significant” progress over the last several years and that Oakdale is the highest performing unified school district in the county.

Shook’s report provided details on the district’s overall Academic Performance Index (API) score of 788+13, which is the best in the county. Each Oakdale elementary school improved their API scores and all hold an API score of more than 800, the “gold” standard for schools. Oakdale High School has moved up the ladder by one spot into second in the county for API scores with 776. The junior high school API is up and is also at 776.

Her report also showed Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) numbers and rankings and at the different grade levels for proficiency in math, English language arts (ELA), science, history, and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). In most categories, Oakdale scored higher than the county and state comparison levels, and in math and ELA most Oakdale students are at or above proficiency.

Shook also reported that the number of the district’s socioeconomically disadvantaged students grew by 200 and was a sign of the times.

She also reported that the graduation rate for the high school is 97.5 percent, with the overall rate at 90.9 percent for the district. Overall, Shook said she was very pleased with the numbers.

Also in reports, OHS Principal Mike Moore provided a detailed presentation on the high school’s ASB athletic budget. His report showed that total income for all OHS athletic events for the 2008-09 school year was $83,426, while total athletic expenses were $74,734.

The report provided details on gate receipts on each sport, broken down by each opponent, as well as each sport’s annual budget. Most budgets were equal to or less than they were in the 2000-01 school year.

His report also detailed expenses for ambulance attendance, CIF state dues and league dues, security, cashiers/ticket takers, and game officials, and more. Officials cost the high school $26,934 annually and Moore said that officials want raises while every school is having to cut budgets.

Moore stated that the district is beginning to charge for entry to watch most of the school’s sports, many of which used to be free to watch. He said that the expenses continue to increase each year and that they have no other choice but to implement the charges to fans to watch the sports.

In total, $279,500 comes out of the district’s general fund to cover athletics. That is $75,000 less than was budgeted last year — that money was trimmed from the athletic transportation budget. The transportation budget alone is $156,773. Athletes are now charged fees to travel but the Oakdale Sports Boosters has raised money to offer a scholarship program to cover the transport fees for athletes that can’t cover the costs. Along with transportation, the district’s athletic budget also includes coach stipends, equipment certifications and reconditioning, and more.

The next regular meeting of the OJUSD Board of Trustees will be on Monday, Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 No. Second.