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First priority: Castaic high school

Posted: November 5, 2008 9:49 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2008 4:59 a.m.
It's official - the Hart district's $300 million school bond measure passed with more than the minimum 55 percent of votes needed.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday, 60.4 percent of voters were in favor of Measure SA and 39.6 percent were opposed. The school construction bond will provide funding for improvements to current schools and for construction of new schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District.

"I'm so grateful to our community and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly on this measure, all for the good of our students," said Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Hart district school board president.

"We are going to move forward in full disclosure and transparency and really encourage the community to work with us as we implement the bond."

Measure SA opponent Eduardo Espana said he was pleased that so many people voted against the bond.

"It shows people who were involved in opposing (the measure) that our voices were heard," he said. "I think it's the opposition we wanted to see."

Mercado-Fortine said the first priorities will be construction of a high school in Castaic, which will relieve overcrowding in some of the district's high schools, along with completion of the modernization projects at Hart High School - the district's oldest school - and Placerita and Sierra Vista junior high schools.

"We would not have been able to complete those modernizations without this bond," Mercado-Fortine said.

Also on the list of projects are the completion of auditoriums at West Ranch and Golden Valley high schools and construction of auditoriums at Saugus and Canyon high schools.

Canyon High Choir Director Mary Purdy has been waiting a long time for a place for her students to perform.

"I've been here for 18 years and we've struggled every year with finding a place to perform," Purdy said. "Now we will finally have a place of our own, right here on our own campus."

Canyon's choir, band and theater groups currently practice in the gymnasium and what Purdy likes to refer to as the "multi-useless room." Performances are usually held across town at La Mesa Junior High.

Purdy said she is thrilled that the auditorium will be built before she retires in 2014.

"I know it will be built before I retire, but I hope I get to use it for a few years," she said.

Mercado-Fortine thanked Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar for his support and all of the students who worked hard to ensure that the measure passed.

"Our students were so involved in this bond - they were out there fighting for it because they really knew how much it meant to them," Mercado-Fortine said. "I thought that was just incredible."


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