Modesto School Board Approves Putting Mandatory Measure on Ballot

A vote on a high school facility improvement obligation measure drew football players, families, coaches and Enochs High boosters to the City of Modesto Schools Board meeting on Monday evening, June 20, 2022. Here, Enochs student Gavin Prutch addresses the trustees.

A vote on a high school facility improvement obligation measure drew football players, families, coaches and Enochs High boosters to the City of Modesto Schools Board meeting on Monday evening, June 20, 2022. Here, Enochs student Gavin Prutch addresses the trustees.

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On Monday night, the City of Modesto Schools District Board unanimously approved a resolution to place on the November ballot a bond measure of approximately $198 million to make improvements to facilities at all its secondary schools.

On the agenda, the item was called a vote to order “a measure for the improvement of the classrooms/science laboratories of the City of Modesto School District.” And its description specified “updating vocational training classrooms, labs/equipment to prepare students for the job market; update classrooms/science labs for quality teaching in math, science, reading/writing; and fix leaky roofs/deteriorated plumbing. …”

But it was the bond’s inclusion of improvements to the athletics program that drew an audience to Monday’s meeting.

Enochs High School football players and coaches postponed Monday’s practice to attend the meeting. Head coach Tracey Traub and a few players addressed the council. A few other players read statements written by supporters, including Modesto Junior College head football coach Rusty Stivers and former Stanislaus State athletic director Milton Richards, who is now a district administrator. from Yosemite Community College.

Traub, who has coached in the district for a decade, spoke out to advocate for improved sports facilities, most notably a stadium at his school. “I have witnessed how sports motivate many students to stay on the path to success,” he said. “I’ve worked with athletes who had little to no support at home, and football was the only thing that kept them from giving up. I currently have a player who is living on someone’s couch because he is homeless, and football is the only thing that keeps him going.

Gavin Prutch, a class of 2024 student athlete at Enochs, told administrators that building stadiums at his school and others would mean “home games” would truly be at home. It would create more spirit and pride at school and inspire students to get better grades so they could keep playing football, he said.

Shelley Akiona, professor of business administration at MJC, said she has had many students over the years who are “sportingly brilliant, and they use their physique and their knowledge of their game to lead them academically For many of these students, their academic courage is really what unlocks their potential for success and it often starts on a field, in a swimming pool or in a gymnasium.

The improvements to athletics set out in the bond resolution passed Monday are much broader than stadiums. They include fields, pools, courts, physical education facilities, locker rooms, updated equipment, fencing, lighting and more.

In an email to The Bee on Monday evening, Associate Superintendent Tim Zearley said no specific project had been assigned to a high school. “As of today, no plans have been made for the schools, as we had not officially approved the ballot measure.”

If voters approve the bond measure in November, the impact will be significant.

Projects to provide improved space for teaching and support include replacing portable buildings with permanent classrooms. They include building, upgrading, repairing or replacing science labs, professional technical education spaces, libraries, and visual and performing arts spaces and venues. And they would improve the site’s accessibility for students with disabilities.

Other projects would improve energy efficiency to reduce utility costs and enable increased use of technology. Still others would provide basic repairs and safety upgrades like repairing or replacing roofs, doors and windows, replacing obsolete and inefficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems and deteriorating plumbing.

Trustees expressed support for the bond measure when they heard a briefing report on it at their June 6 meeting, so Monday’s unanimous vote to approve the resolution was no surprise. .

They also made it clear that they realize it would be difficult to get the necessary approval from 55% of voters, especially with a 1% City of Modesto sales tax measure and a requirement for public school facilities, possibly both on the same ballot.

On Monday night, board member Cindy Marks thanked Enochs students for their support and urged them to take part in the bond campaign by walking around the compound handing out flyers. “If you’re as excited as you are tonight in the fall, that will help us push this through.”

Next steps, Zearley told the school board Monday night, include forming a bond campaign committee made up of community members, parents and, in their spare time, teachers and staff. The district anticipates that the committee will meet in July for the launch of the campaign.

To learn more about measuring high school bonds, visit

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Deke has been an editor and reporter for The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently reports on breaking news, education and human interests. A graduate of Beyer High, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.


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