Pool accusations concern board member
On July 1, Chief Administrative Officer John Ketelsen told the supervisors he and his staff were working closely with school officials to get pool measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.
One week later, on Tuesday, July 8, Ketelsen told the board in a memorandum the Lassen Union High School District Board of Trustees “met last week and have now clarified that they do not intend to do so in November 2008.”
The supervisors did not take the news well that the LUHSD board was not planning to pursue the pool at this time.
“There was no reference on the radio discussion about the meeting,” said District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman. “I didn’t see anything in the paper. So, they (the board) had the special meeting and took that action they did when not too many people were paying attention. I was distressed to hear that they took that action not to go on the November ballot.”
The Lassen Union High School District’s board met in a special meeting on Tuesday, July 1. Items on the agenda included one closed session item regarding personnel. Open session items included two public hearings for collective bargaining agreements with the Lassen Teachers Association and the California School Employee’s Association, approval to enter into an agreement with Impact Construction and Excavating to repair Lassen High School’s geothermal lines and for the board members to approve the timeline for election of board members in November.
Bradbury attended the special meeting and said the pool was not discussed and she did not appreciate being accused of lying.
Susanville has been without a public pool since Roosevelt Pool, closed in December 2004 due to structural safety issues.
The high school district has been talking about constructing a pool for more than two years and even had a preliminary drawing of a potential swimming pool facility.
Several meetings were held, one of which included county and city officials, Lassen Community College and the Susanville School District, which discussed the idea of a joint-use project for the pool.
Although the district has the land, it does not have the funds to maintain a pool. The district was trying to find a joint-use partner who would commit to covering the costs of maintaining a pool and was looking at putting a community-sponsored bond measure before Lassen County voters, which would raise property taxes in order to help fund the construction and maintenance of a pool facility.
According to Assembly Bill 14, by getting a joint-use partner, the Office of Public School Construction would give $2 million for the cost of the facility while a government agency would pay the other half. The district’s donation would be the land.
However, Assembly Bill 127 loosened the costs on the agencies, allowing them to pay 25 percent with the school district paying the other 25 percent. Bradbury said the funding is no longer available.
During a joint-use power meeting in June 2007, the board of supervisors passed a resolution agreeing to participate in a JPA subject to five conditions. These conditions include the stipulation that any new pool facility project includes the removal of the existing pool structure and facilities. Bradbury objected and said funding to demolish the old pool should have nothing to do with building a new facility.
She said using funds to tear down the old building killed a JPA agreement right there.
In addition, in a report given during a March 11 meeting, LUHSD Superintendent Rebekah Barakos Cartwright said due to the possible cuts in the state budget and the lack of funding to maintain a swimming pool, the district was going to hold off on the pool.
With declining enrollment and proposed cuts in the state budget and estimating $8 to $10 million to construct a pool, Bradbury said it was irresponsible for the school board to assume that kind of debt and it was ridiculous to encumber the district and taxpayers with that kind of money.
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