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Oxnard Union dives right in

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Lots of attention has been paid to Rancho Campana High School, which will break ground in Camarillo in early March, but there are other construction projects in the Oxnard Union High School District.

Two new aquatic centers are ready to be unveiled this month at Camarillo and Hueneme high schools. The two pool projects are funded by Measure H, a voter-approved $135 million bond measure that will also pay for Rancho Campana.

The Camarillo High pool (these pictures were taken last week right before and after the pool was filled) will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Feb. 18. The Hueneme pool will be unveiled at 2 p.m. Feb. 26.

Driffill gets new building

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The Oxnard School District dedicated a new building at Driffill School on Saturday. The two-story structure features 29 classrooms, a library and administration offices.











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In early 2011, the district conducted a structural analysis of the Driffill building and found it was unsafe.














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Later that year, the district demolished the building, which was built in 1945. Construction began in June 2012 using money from a voter-approved bond measure.












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Students moved in on Jan. 10, excited that they're no longer inside portable classrooms.

Fundraising slow for Camarillo High turf

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turf.JPGFundraising efforts are off to a slow start for the Scorpion Athletic Booster Club. The group is trying to raise $1.7 million by February for a new turf field at Camarillo High School. So far, $26,000, or about 1.5 percent of the goal, has been raised.

Fix Our Schools first wrote about this when the club started its fundraising campaign.

"We're running into a chicken-and-egg problem," said Bill Meier, president of the club.

Many parents say they are interested but want to make sure the booster club will be successful before they donate. Meier said some businesses that could be potential donors are the same way, wanting to make sure the community is behind the project before donating.

"We're starting to make an appeal to parents, 'Don't wait to donate,' " said Meier. "We need to put our money where our mouth is."

The goal is to break ground for the new athletic field in March, but Meier said if the club doesn't have the money by then, the project can break ground in the summer or fall. Meier said money donated for the project will not be spent on anything else but the turf field.

"I'm not going anywhere," Meier said. "I'm going to keep doing it until it's done."

Rio Mesa students still waiting for another bus

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riobus.JPG.jpegA group of Rio Mesa High School students approached Principal Bill Dabbs this week asking if a second school bus for the El Rio neighborhood was on the way. The students first approached the Oxnard Union High School District board on Nov. 20, and Fix Our Schools addressed the issue.

Students say the El Rio bus fills up quickly after school, and those who don't catch the bus have to wait for it to return for the second group. Some say it takes two hours to get home. Others say there's a mad dash for the bus and some students have gotten injured.

Last month, district Superintendent Gabe Soumakian said a second bus would be added following Thanksgiving break. But after a visit by district officials, a final decision on whether to add another bus has not been made.

Stephen McFarland, director of maintenance and operations, said on a recent visit that he noticed the first bus was not full and students embarked in an orderly manner. McFarland said the El Rio bus is not the only one at Rio Mesa with a double route and that the two trips are usually completed within 45 minutes. McFarland did not say when a decision will be made.

"We obviously want to get all the facts and make a decision on solid data," McFarland said. "We do not want to make an uninformed decision."

Santa Paula High to hire locker room attendants

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Thumbnail image for IMG_20131101_150804-1.jpgThe Santa Paula Unified School District board has authorized the hiring of two locker room attendants at the high school. The attendants will assist the physical education teachers and keep an eye on the locker facilities at Santa Paula High School. The facilities are aging and in disrepair. Many lockers are missing locks.

"When there are no locker room attendants, things disappear from lockers," said Superintendent Alfonso Gamino.

Fix Our Schools addressed the issue last month when students claimed that inadequate facilities in the girl's locker room amounted to discrimination.

In addition to hiring two attendants, the district plans to install new lockers, but there is no timeline. Gamino said he realizes there are not enough lockers for female athletes and the girls' locker room is older than the boys'. He said the district is looking to see how to remodel the girls' locker room so it is more on par with the boys' facility.

 



 


School bus needed for El Rio route

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Schoolbus_anthony.jpgWhat needs fixing: Rio Mesa High School needs another school bus for the El Rio route. The single bus does not have enough room for all the students who live in that neighborhood, according to Tequio, an advocacy group for Mixteco youth. Once the bus is full, it leaves and returns to pick up the remaining students. Some students have waited two hours before going home. When school lets out, El Rio students make a dash to the bus, and some have fallen and injured themselves.

The solution: After hearing about the concerns of El Rio students at a recent school board meeting, the Oxnard Union High School District has arranged for a second bus. Superintendent Gabe Soumakian said the bus should be there by the time students get back from Thanksgiving break.

Discrimination in the locker room?

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What needs fixing: The girls locker room at Santa Paula High School has been around since the 1960s. Facilities are old and the lockers are missing locks. This is discrimination toward female athletes because the boys' facilities are better and newer, some students say.

The solution: "We are aware of issues currently present at the girls locker room and we're moving to resolve that issue," said Santa Paula High School Principal Elizabeth Garcia.

According to school officials, there are defective locks in the boys locker room as well.

Superintendent Alfonso Gamino said the district is looking into installing new lockers in the next couple of months but declined to give a more detailed timeline. Gamino said the girls facilities may not be as large as the boys', but the school is not in violation of any gender equality laws.

"We care for all of our kids. We care for all of our athletes," Gamino said.

From dirt to turf

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CamHi turf.JPGWhat needs fixing: The Camarillo High School booster club has been talking about raising money for a new turf field for a couple of years now. Meanwhile, the athletic field used by football, soccer and youth sports teams has deteriorated. Much of the surface is dirt, especially during football season. Will there be improvements soon?

The solution: If fundraising goes as planned, yes. The Scorpion Athletic Booster Club started raising money for a new synthetic turf field and track in October. The goal is to raise $1.7 million by February and have the field complete by June 2014. The boosters have an aggressive timeline, with a goal of raising $100,000 a week. So far, they have $16,000 in the bank. Donations can be made here. You can also follow the booster club on Twitter @ScorpAthleticBC.

Saving for a new playground

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photo.JPGWhat needs fixing: Poinsettia School in Ventura has a wooden playground that parents have been raising money to replace for about 10 years now. The wooden structure continuously gives kids splinters, and a few of the features, such as swings, have been removed for safety reasons or because they broke and were never replaced. Will there be a new structure?

The solution: Poinsettia is about a third of the way toward its goal in a fundraising effort for a new playground. The cost of a new playground, including grading and a concrete foundation, is about $60,000, said Principal Wes Wade. The school expects to raise $45,000 by the end of the year.

"Our current play structure was built in the mid-1990s. It's had a lot of wear and tear," Wade said.

On Nov. 15, the Parent Teacher Organization will host a fundraiser, Barrel for Bytes, at Ventura City Hall. Proceeds will go toward the school's computer lab and new playground. The event is for grown-ups only and will feature wine and beer tasting. Click here for tickets.


Fix Our Schools
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The Fix Our Schools blog highlights issues at your neighborhood school that need fixing. Whether it’s a leaky roof or insufficient textbooks, the Ventura County School Watch team will find out what the solution is. Tell us if you’ve encountered a problem at your neighborhood school by e-mailing wendy.leung@vcstar.com or jean.moore@vcstar.com.