The Lodi Unified School District is congratulating itself on a job well done after disbanding the Measure K oversight committee on Tuesday.
Eight new schools were built in Lodi Unified School District and several others received additions and renovations as a result of Measure K bonds. The committee spent nearly 10 years overseeing district plans to build Larson and Borchardt elementary schools and Millswood Middle School in Lodi, and Ansel Adams, Manlio Silva, George Lincoln Mosher elementary schools and McNair High School in Stockton, all with taxpayer dollars. Project also included upgrades and modernization at several other sites in Lodi and Stockton.
The original bond was for $109.3 million, and was approved by voters in 2002. As of Jan. 23, every penny was spent, aside from some funds earmarked to replace windows and demolish old portable classrooms at Lincoln Technical Academy.
The committee first met in June 2002 for the first phase, which was selling a $50 million bond to build six new schools. The second phase was to sell another $50 million bond and build three more schools. The remaining $9 million in bonds would be spent in phase three to build additions to existing schools.
Miscellaneous projects were completed as well, including turnarounds for school buses, improving athletic fields, replacing playground equipment and roofing, and installing smartboards.
The final meeting was held in January to approve the final annual report and recommend the district disband the committee.
The original committee had seven members: James Ganzer, Art Hand Jr., Gertie Kandris, Lester Patrick, Mandy Pearson, Steven Reeves and Ralph Wetmore.
In the end, only four seats were filled, by Gary Reiff, Marilyn Domingo, Alan Korsgaden and Tricia Monahan. Those four had to attend every meeting, since four is the minimum number of votes required to make any decisions.
Korsgarden, of Stockton, coached water polo at Bear Creek High School in the early 2000s, and was frustrated to learn that Measure K plans didn't include a pool for his school. He joined the committee in 2007 to find out exactly where the money was going. The measure did add a gym and a theater to Bear Creek, and Measure L later provided a new pool.
"Personally, my only issue was the McNair High School program going so far over budget. Overall, I think (the committee) did a great job," he said.
Each meeting was fairly straightforward and lasted about an hour, he said. Committee members reviewed the status of each project with district staff from the finance department present.
The responsibility wasn't heavy, but managing Measure K money took a lot of time because so few members of the public were interested.
"No one from public attended, and these were open meetings," he said.
Reiff, of Lodi, served as committee chairman for several years. He noticed near the end of the process that other people were reluctant to join, since the projects were mostly finished and other committees needed members, too.
He was asked to join the committee by former Lockeford School principal Dan Faith, since he lived in the neighborhood. Watching this process became an important responsibility.
"When you get funding from a measure, you ask the community to put up taxpayer dollars to do something," he said. "Our job was to make sure that something got done."
The district had a plan spelled out before the committee held its first meeting, with a key addendum that the bond money was not to be spent on teacher salaries or perks.
"It never was. They handled the Measure K funds perfectly. We never found a flaw or a mistake or anything out of line," he said. "There are a lot of times in government when you can't always say that. I want to commend the district staff because they did it right."
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