Rialto Unified School District

By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 01/12/15, 4:32 PM PST |

RIALTO >> Rialto property owners will be seeing their property taxes go up after the Rialto Unified School Board voted last week to issue a third round of Measure Y bonds to help pay for long-awaited renovations and improvements at Eisenhower High and other district sites.

In 2010, voters approved the $98 million bond measure — paid out in installments bonds, or “series” — with two promises: that the revenue would be used to upgrade some of Rialto Unified’s most-needed upgrades and repairs, with Eisenhower High as the poster child, and that property tax revenues wouldn’t go up as a result.

Neither ended up coming true: Series 2011A and 2011B general obligation bonds, issued in 2011, were spent on other district needs.

“Eisenhower was never supposed to be a permanent structure,” board member Nancy O’Kelley said Monday. Prior to her retirement, O’Kelley had worked as both a teacher and principal at Eisenhower.

“The kids used to laugh when we had earthquake drills: ‘We don’t need to duck and cover, Ms. O’Kelley; all that’s going to fall on us is cardboard.’”

The school has also had a bare-bones football facility, despite having been the alma mater of at least five NFL players, including Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

“Eisenhower football is why Rialto, Calif., is on the map,” varsity football coach Mike Clark told the board at last week’s meeting. “Students should not have to drive to have adequate facilities.”

At the meeting, O’Kelley vowed that Clark would get his new stadium.

“There are new stadiums at Carter and Rialto High,” O’Kelley said Monday. “We need a complete stadium with proper snack bars and proper rest room facilities. The bleachers are dangerous, in my opinion, they’re so shaky: They’re the original bleachers since 1979.”

The school has also long needed a performing arts building, she said; students have to perform at Carter or Rialto High instead of their own campus.

“It’s embarrassing after a while: We are a flagship school and don’t have what the kids at the other schools have,” O’Kelley said.

And after last Wednesday’s 4-0 vote (board member Joseph Martinez was absent), property owners within the school district’s boundaries can expect to see a hike of $41.68 per $100,000 of assessed value, on top of the $70 per $100,000 of assessed value they already pay.

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