BRAWLEY â€“ District financial officer, Jennifer Layaye, reported to the board the state of their finances, saying, â€œThanks to the maintenance crew for turning lights off at night and everyone doing their part, we Â ended the year with a surplus.â€
Layaye went on to reportÂ about the rocky road ahead that is filled with uncertainty as their fate is put in the hands of the voters in November. Governor Brown has placed on the November 6 ballot Proposition 30 which raises taxes on California residents to fund public safety and education. The state is experiencing a financial crises with reports of Californiaâ€™s debt that usually just includes the $17 billion budget deficit, but California also owes the federal government $14 billion, and public schools $10 billion according to California Watchdog.
The board passed a resolution to show their support for Proposition 30 and 38, both raise taxes to fund public education.
The board also received a report on the damage at Palmer Auditorium after the earthquake swarms in late August.
State officials are inspecting Palmer to determine all that will need to be done to make Palmer useful again. IVROP teacher Randy Smith said since the stage just went through a major renovation, the lights, curtains, sound system and the stage itself are all fine. The problem was the ceiling. Major sections of the ceiling plaster has fallen and work is estimated to cost from $100,000 up to $500,000.
Layaye met with the state and BUHS doesnâ€™t qualify for any hardship classifications which would have opened the state coffers up to paying a majority of the repairs.
The work most likely will include removing the existing plaster and retro fitting with a seismic suspended ceiling with cables.
Patti Wilson of Oh La La Dance Studio asked the board to consider putting the repairs on the front burner as Palmer is the only venue in town with seating. â€œI donâ€™t want to take my business to El Centro. I want to keep it here.â€ She also mentioned that the North County Coalition for the Arts that uses Palmer regularly,Â plans on holding a fundraiser to helpÂ with some of the costs.
SpeakingÂ for the board and the state architects, Layaye responded by saying, â€œThey are expediting everything. It is a priority for them too.â€
Board President Ralph Fernandez said, â€œFixing Palmer is a noble cause for the whole community. The Board is saddened. We spent so much time and money fixing Palmer and now it is closed again.â€