Butteville Elementary School administrator Todd Clark is hoping voters will approve a $3.5 million, 30 year bond to upgrade three of the school’s classrooms and construct a new gymnasium/performing arts center.

Butteville Elementary School administrator Todd Clark is hoping voters will approve a $3.5 million, 30 year bond to upgrade three of the school’s classrooms and construct a new gymnasium/performing arts center.

There are 1,095 registered voters in the Butteville School District, which encompasses Lake Shastina, Edgewood and Hammond Ranch. Bond Measure R would need two-thirds voter approval to pass on Nov. 6.

Principal/superintendent Clark said bonds are the state’s process for helping schools refurbish or replace aging facilities, and there’s no money in the state’s budget to rebuild schools.

If approved, homeowners in the Butteville Union Elementary School District would pay $5.75 monthly per $100,000 of assessed value. The median household in the district has an assessed value of $91,000, according to Jason List from the school bond advisory firm Isom Advisors.

“Measure R supports our local students, our community and therefore our community’s future... Shouldn't we all support our local school, even if our own kids are grown? It is the future of the community as a whole,” said Clark, pointing out that Butteville Elementary has one of the highest API scores in Siskiyou County, at 850.

Some in the Edgewood community argue that more than 25 percent of the school’s students don’t live in the district, and they’re opposed to paying for a bond for students who don’t live there.

“We are already paying for a College of the Siskiyous bond on top of a Siskiyou Union High School District bond,” said Edgewood resident Margo Perryman. “Most of us that live in Edgewood don’t even have children in schools in those areas let alone in Butteville.”

Edgewood resident Mikey Mulvihill said she and her husband, Tom, are concerned because Butteville’s enrollment could decline at any time and if that happened, they would be paying for new empty classrooms.

“All their parent would have to do is change their mind,” said Mulvihill.

“What about all the ones who do live in the district?” countered Clark. “Students who attend Butteville from outside our district bring in their fair share of revenue through ADA, a substantial additional amount of money that helps support the school... We would need to upgrade these facilities even if we had 100 less students. We used every classroom here five years ago. We are replacing dilapidated portables and an outdated multi-purpose room. The transfer students are not a factor.”

Clark continued, “Measure R funding can only be spent at Butteville. This is the only tax that can’t be spent anywhere but here.”

Clark said the money cannot be used for teacher or administrator salaries, and will be overseen during regular monthly board meetings with open books and annual audits.

Why a bond?

“Our local students need up to date technology in order to compete in the 21st century job market,” Clark said. “We have three worn out and outdated portable classrooms that we wish to replace with new construction including a science lab and research classroom. The other piece is a new gymnasium that would be an upgrade to the grossly undersized and unsafe one that was built here over 30 years ago.”

The cost for the proposed venue is an estimated $2 million, and the three new junior high classrooms, including a science lab and research center, will be approximately $1.5 million, said Clark. The building would be a venue for the entire community to use for special events, he added.

Clark came last year to Butteville Elementary from Buckeye School of the Arts in Redding, where he was involved with the construction of a similar gymnasium/performance venue.

“The current gym/cafeteria is undersized for athletic competition at the junior high level, and the school’s performance venue is inadequate,” Clark said, especially with the addition of the band and strings program and two choirs that were successfully begun last year. He also pointed out the gym’s cement floor is unsafe compared to today’s standards.

Mulvihill said she has seen “many successful seasons” of basketball played in the existing gymnasium and pointed out that seven miles away, Weed Elementary School has a gym that’s “huge.”

Though Mulvihill said she supports the educational system, she is concerned about misuse of taxpayers’ money.

“I think it’s great Butteville raised money during their Art Auction and Wine Tasting event last weekend. They’ve found a way to bring in money without burdening the taxpayers,” Mulvihill said.

Clark responded by saying there has never been a better time to seek a bond. He cited information from School Services of California. “Interest rates are at an all time low, home assessments are also very low, construction costs are down and there will never be a greater opportunity to leverage local tax dollars. There are 106 bonds on this ballot, a state record for these very reasons.”