Public comment sought on charter school
PEA documents are available for review at the district office located at 55 S. Weatherlow Street or at the Lassen High School library located at 1618 Main Street both in Susanville.
All comments should be directed to Brett Mitchell of the Lassen Union High School District at the district office.
A public hearing to discuss the PEA reports will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13 during the board’s regularly scheduled board meeting. During the public hearing, all comments, whether verbal or written, regarding the PEA report will be received.
Currently, DMCHS operates out of a facility in the Lassen Shopping Center on Main Street Susanville. The proposed new facility is located at the corner of S. Weatherlow and Main Street.
During its Tuesday, Dec. 16 meeting, the Lassen Union High School District Board of Trustees also approved a resolution for Superintendent Rebekah Barakos-Cartwright to sign documents on behalf of the district.
Board members Connie Herman, Ken Theobald, Dr. Hal Meadows and Jon Archer agreed to approve the resolution and new board member Chuck Spence cast the only no vote.
In August, the board approved Barakos-Cartwright to sign documents on behalf of the district, but she said the district’s escrow company needed an adopted resolution.
The new facility is in escrow, which is pending on financing and final clearance from the California Department of Education.
During the week of Nov. 11, four tests were conducted on the north and west sides of the facility to check for possible contamination from sewer seepage and a dry cleaners business several blocks away.
Mitchell said there were no significant findings.
The Dec. 16 meeting marked Spence’s first meeting as a LUHSD board member. He was elected to the board in November along with Theobald. He asked for some history in regards to needing a new facility for the charger school.
Barakos-Cartwright said a new facility would allow the district to expand and provide a more classroom-structured environment for DMCHS.
CDE clearance by the end of January, escrow closes.
By providing a larger facility, Barakos-Cartwright said it would allow the district to expand into a vocational/technical educational environment.
According to Barakos-Cartwright the bond amount is $550,000 and the district’s intent is to pay back the bond fee through its developer fees, which now has an ending balance of $225,000.
As a condition of approving a new building, fees are levied on developers or other agencies.
Each school adopts developer fees. The high school district’s current developer fees are $2.97 per square foot for a residential building and 47 cents per square foot for a commercial building.
The district averages about $100,000 in developer fees a year, but only collected $70,000 last year, which Barakos-Cartwright said is the lowest amount the district has received in the past five years.
In order to pay back the bond money, Barakos-Cartwright said the district would pay $67,000 per year.
In addition, Mitchell said the cramped quarters was a grave concern to the Susanville Fire Department during a recent inspection.
DMCHS is currently paying a month-to-month rent of $1800 a month. The plan is to renovate a portion of the new facility and have it ready for the students when they return from spring break in April.
In order to be approved by the CDE, the facility has gone through an environmental impact process, which includes a geological hazards report and a toxic examination by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. The facility has passed pest inspections and has been cleared of asbestos and lead paint.
During the environmental clearance process it was discovered a minor amount of oil had been dumped into a drain, which seeped into the soil within one foot of the drainpipe and had to be removed.
The Susanville City Planning Department has also said using the facility as a school falls within the city’s zoning laws. The district has publicly identified the proposed use of the facility and zoning requirements.
The new facility would feature a room for a library, a computer lab and a teachers’ lounge.
During its accreditation process, a Western Association of Schools and Colleges team visited DMCHS and recommended moving the school to a new building.
A new charter school facility was identified as a need during a community strategic planning session held on May 6.
However, the purchase of a new facility has caused concern among teachers and parents.
During a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 28, the board approved renewing a one-year lease at its current location with language allowing the district to break the lease with notice.
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