Among the improvements planned, and much needed, are seismic
upgrades, painting, stucco repair, door replacement, electrical
upgrades and repairing the ceilings in all classrooms.
The work will be paid for, of course, by the $110-million bond that voters passed in 2000. Added to that sum will be state
proposition money, more of which will come Newport-Mesa's way if
voters approve another bond in 2004. The estimated cost of all the
repairs is $173.3 million.
During the Measure A campaign, school officials argued strongly
for why the district's campuses needed such expensive work. They also
smartly included much resident oversight of the project in their
plans, which certainly helped gain the overwhelming support the bond
That oversight also has played a role in the slow build-up to next
year's work. Given the breadth of the project, and the care that it
has needed, the delay has been frustrating, perhaps, but not
disturbing. From the early days of the Measure A campaign, school
officials always were careful and precise in the steps they took.
What would have been troubling was an overly quick end to the
discussions about how the money should be spent. Parents had learned
to expect more.
Still, 2 1/2 years seems sufficient time to have worked out
exactly what improvements are needed at which schools. It is time to
turn the words, and money, into action.
For parents and students who have been waiting for the work to
begin, the district's announcement amounts to a fine holiday present.