Plumas Lake Elementary School District

About the Fourth School

In the Fall of 2023, the Board approved the Design-Build Process for the Fourth School Site in Plumas Lake Elementary School District (PLESD).  
The Fourth School will:
  • Be centrally located within our District.
  • Create new classroom capacity to support growth for an addition 800+ new students.
  • Include enrichment classrooms for science, technology, art, music and band.
  • Provide athletic facilities, including a gymnasium, track, sports fields and other athletic spaces.
  • Support the students and community of Plumas Lake!
Funding for the Fourth School: Developer Fees, State School Facility Fees and Measures V + W + X.

Design-Build Process

The Design-Build Process for The Fourth School fosters collaboration, encourages community input, and ensures a keen awareness of funding and budget considerations.
  • Collaboration: The Design-Build Process promotes synergy among stakeholders, fostering a collaborative environment for innovative solutions.
    • Design-Build Team: CORE & CA+SA Studio
  • Community Input: By actively seeking and incorporating community perspectives, the process ensures that The Fourth School design aligns with the values and needs of the local community. Below are some of the following ways to contribute input.
    • Community Meetings
    • Superintendent's Committee Meetings
    • Surveys & Feedback
    • Board Meetings
  • Funding & Budget Considerations: Through the implementation of the Design-Build delivery method, the District's meticulous attention to the project's financial impact ensures the responsible allocation of resources, thereby securing a sustainable and well-funded outcome.

Community Input

Community Input: By actively seeking and incorporating community perspectives, the process ensures that The Fourth School design aligns with the values and needs of the local community.   Below are some of the following ways to contribute input.
  • Community Meetings: Open forums encourages community participation and input. These meetings provide a platform for residents, parents, and stakeholders to voice their opinions, ask questions, and engage in discussions about the school district's plans and initiatives.
    • Date Morning: 8:10 AM Evening: 6:00 PM
      February 27, 2024 Rio Del Oro ES Cobblestone ES
  • Superintendent's Committee Meetings: These are exclusive gatherings led by the Superintendent, bringing together key stakeholders, experts, and decision-makers to discuss.
    • Date & Time Location
      February 1, 2024 - 3:30 to 4:30 District Office
  • Board Meetings: Regular meetings where the school board convenes to discuss and make decisions regarding the project.
    • Date & Time Location
      March 14, 2024 6PM District Office

Funding the Project

The projected cost of building The Fourth School is $90 - $100 Million.  Funding from multiple sources will be needed to complete the project in it's entirety. 
Measure V + W + X Education Bond: 60%
New Development Funding: 20%
State Matching Grant: 20%

Measures V + W + X

Measures V + W + X are three local $18,000,000 Education Bonds placed on the March 5, 2024, ballot by the Plumas Lake Elementary School District (PLESD) Board of Trustees that need 55% approval from the community.
  • Measure V will build core academic classrooms, a library, and other support facilities 
  • Measure W will build the enrichment classrooms that this community so highly prioritizes such as science, technology, art, music, and band classrooms, as well as a multipurpose room with cafeteria facilities.
  • Measure X will focus on the health of our students and community by building athletic facilities such as a gymnasium, track, sports fields, and physical education spaces.
When Measures V + W + X pass a complete fourth school will be built.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why 3 bonds at one time?
The PLESD School Board has always believed to ask the community for what it needs. Through the survey and input processes it became very clear that the community wants 1) a fourth school site, 2) to keep construction costs lower, and 3) keep taxpayer costs lower. To do this we need to begin construction as soon as possible. As we have seen 30% growth in construction costs over the last two years. PLESD could have chosen to put one bond on the ballot at a time, one in March 2024, November 2024 and June of 2026. But this in the end would increase the costs of construction and therefore the cost to the taxpayers. Most likely this plan would have meant needing a 4th and possibly 5th bond.
What are Measures V + W + X?
Measures V + W + X are three local $18,000,000 Education Bonds placed on the March 5, 2024, ballot by the Plumas Lake Elementary School District (PLESD) Board of Trustees that need 55% approval from the community. When all three bonds pass a complete fourth school will be able to be built.
    • Measure V will focus on building core academic classrooms, a library, and other support facilities 
    • Measure W will build the enrichment classrooms that this community so highly prioritizes such as science, technology, art, music, and band classrooms. Also, it will build a multipurpose room with cafeteria facilities.
    • Measure X will focus on the health of our students and community by building athletic facilities such as a gymnasium, track, sports fields, and physical education spaces.
Why were Measures V + W + X placed on the ballot?
Over the past year, PLESD engaged in a community input process that asked the question, “How does Plumas Lake want to solve the overcrowding issue that faces our school district due to the tremendous growth in the community?” Plumas Lake responded by engaging in multiple community surveys, community meetings, Board Meetings, and input sessions.
Some main conclusions can be drawn from all of this input:
    • A fourth school is important to this community instead of other solutions like adding many portables to our current school sites.
    • The overall cost to taxpayers should be a priority.
    • The community wanted PLESD to begin the design process for a fourth school site so that when funding became available we would be able to build the school quickly.
    • The community wanted the builders and the State to pay for as much of the school as possible.
To meet these priorities, the PLESD School Board has made a series of decisions to solve the overcrowding issue. The latest decision was to place three bonds on the March 4, 2024 ballot. These three bonds will each focus on different aspects of building a fourth school site for most likely our sixth through eighth grade students. 

Do Measures V + W + X include fiscal accountability requirements?
Yes. Measures V + W + X include accountability requirements, including public disclosure of all spending, and independent annual financial and performance audits. All funds must be used for Plumas Lake Elementary District school projects and not for other purposes. No funds can be used for administrator salaries and pensions, or taken by state or federal government. Bond expenditures are reviewed by a committee comprised of community members. 

What happens if these don’t pass?
After a community brainstorming session and extensive district research, it was determined that the community's foremost desire is a fourth school or a middle school. One thing that is pretty certain is that the expenses for school construction won't decrease and might even rise. Among the alternative ideas suggested by the community were year-round schooling, altering grade configurations across sites to extend the timeline, and transforming one school into a larger entity by incorporating 15-20 portables. Decisions of this nature would ultimately fall into the hands of the School Board.
How would the fourth school be funded?
In 2012, PLESD purchased 25 acres of land on River Oaks Boulevard across from the fire station. Passage of Measures V, W, and X would help secure state matching funds that would otherwise go to other school districts. Funding would come from the following sources:
    • Measure V + W + X Education Bond: 60%
    • New Development Funding: 20%
    • State Matching Grant: 20%
Why do we need a fourth school site?
Since 2019, developers in Plumas Lake have built over 1,200 homes and counting. This tremendous growth has caused a 30+ percent increase in enrollment (395 more students to total 1640) in PLESD schools. Demographers predict that by 2030, the District will have over 2,200 students enrolled; we are currently 31 students ahead of the projections for the 2023-24 school year. Currently we have 1,640 PK-8th grade students in our 3 schools. In 2030, there could be over 1,600 just PK-5 students.
At a cost of $5,000,000, PLESD added 8 classrooms to accommodate student growth at the two elementary schools. Four of the classrooms are modular classrooms and four are temporary portables that we hope to remove from the playground area when the next school is constructed. This short-term fix may provide adequate space through this year and next. However, we are at capacity and the number of portable classrooms that can be added is limited.
Where would the fourth School be built?
In 2012, PLESD purchased 25 acres of land on River Oaks Boulevard across from the fire department.  At the same time, Wheatland High School District (PLESD is not allowed to operate a high school) purchased 50 adjacent acres while Olivehurst Public Utility District (OPUD) purchased 25 acres with the intention of creating a focal point for the community. Together, the agencies were able to acquire 100 acres of centrally located property for a middle school, high school, and community park with the intention of transforming Plumas Lake into a cohesive and well-conceived community for all residents.
Cost of building the fourth school?
The projected cost for constructing a middle school has increased to an estimated range of $90 to $100 million, marking a staggering 30% increase in construction expenses over the past two years. In 2022, during PLESD's previous bond attempt, the middle school's estimated cost stood at $75 million. Initiating the design-build process in 2023 involved hiring an architect and a school construction company to kickstart the design phase. Upon the passage of Measures V, W, and X in March, these measures will facilitate the completion of the design, finalize plans, and provide the district with a maximum project cost. Failure to secure local funding by March will further escalate the project's cost.
How long until the fourth school is built?
Upon the successful passage of Measures V + W + X, the design and architectural plans are slated for completion by summer 2024. Subsequently, the State approval process is expected to span the latter half of 2024 and a significant portion of 2025. Construction commencement is projected for 2025, aiming for student occupancy on the campus by 2026. While the entire campus might not be fully developed, classrooms should be accessible by that time.
I keep hearing about a lack of Middle School Facilities, can you explain?
Our current middle school, Riverside Meadows, was designed and constructed to operate as an elementary school. Our teachers and staff are doing an incredible job of providing a middle school education utilizing elementary school facilities. Educational opportunities are limited at Riverside Meadows:
    • The band and choir practice in a portable that was built as a preschool/kindergarten classroom complete with a kitchen area.
    • There is not a gym. Riverside Meadows sports teams play in a small cafeteria. It is very difficult for students and parents to attend games. Physical education is not available when the cafeteria is operating during nutritional periods.
    • Riverside Meadows has a single science lab that must be shared by 20 different class periods.
    • Riverside Meadows does not have a dedicated art room nor does it have an art room designed for middle school art education.
    • The computer science classroom functions in a classroom designed for kindergarten.
    • The physical education program takes place on an elementary school playground utilizing elementary and kindergarten playground equipment. There is not a track nor true athletic field. There are no locker rooms for both changing for P.E. or sports games.
How are schools facilities funding in California?
In California, K-12 school facilities are funded through a combination of sources, each serving a specific purpose:
    • General Fund: Unlike some states, California's General Fund typically does not contribute to school facilities funding. The General Fund is primarily allocated for operational expenses, teacher salaries, and other day-to-day educational needs.
    • Developer Fees: Schools in California can receive funding through statutory developer fees. These fees are imposed on developers for new construction projects and are directed towards supporting the infrastructure demands resulting from increased population and development.
    • State School Facilities Program: The School Facilities Program is a state initiative providing financial assistance for the construction and modernization of school facilities. Schools become eligible based on specific criteria, and once qualified, they can access funding that supports a portion of the funds needed to construct new classrooms.  
    • Local General Obligation (GO) Bonds: Many California school districts rely on local funding through the issuance of General Obligation (GO) Bonds. These bonds are approved by local voters and provide the district with funds for various construction and improvement projects.  Measures V + W + X are General Obligation Bonds on the March 5, 2024 ballot.Other Funding: Additional funding sources include the Joint-Use Agreement (JUA) and various supplemental grants aimed at addressing specific needs such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and fire safety can become available to partially fund specific components of a project or site improvement. 
Why don’t HOME BUILDERS just pay for the schools?
Since the inception of the Plumas Lake community, PLESD and builders have collaborated to fund schools. Nearly every home in Plumas Lake is subject to a mitigation agreement between builders and PLESD. While state law mandates builders to pay just under $3 per square foot for new construction, our builders contribute significantly more. These fees are expected to cover a substantial portion, between $17 and $20 million, of the costs associated with expanding school facilities to address overcrowding. Additionally, the district currently holds $9 million in Developer Fees, unencumbered.
Doesn’t the STATE provide funding for school facilities?
The State will most likely have a State Bond for school facilities on the November 2024 ballot. PLESD will be eligible for a little more than $20 million of this bond. These funds will be distributed on a first come first served basis. So, PLESD will have plans for a fourth school completed and turned into the State in the summer of 2024 to give us the best chance of receiving all of our eligible funds. A requirement of state funding is to have matching local funds. That is why PLESD decided to put these bonds on the March ballot so that we will have our matching funds after the bonds pass. We do not want these funds to go to San Francisco and Southern California school districts

What about the lottery?
The lottery contributes approximately $170 per student, totaling just under $300,000 annually for PLESD. While this significantly aids in yearly budgeting for student materials and supplies, it falls significantly short of funding a fourth school.
The California State Lottery is a state-run organization that provides various games of chance, such as scratch-off tickets and number drawings, allowing participants to win cash prizes. Its primary purpose is to generate funds for public education in California. A portion of the revenue generated from lottery ticket sales goes into the state's education budget to support schools and educational initiatives.
How much will Measure V + W + X cost?
When approved, Measures V + W + X will each levy an amount equal to $30 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year. Assessed valuation is different from market value. Assessed valuation is the value of taxable property assigned by the County Assessor at the time of purchase. The average assessed value of a home in Plumas Lake in 2022-23 is approximately $408,000. Meaning, the average homeowner would pay approximately $122 per year per bond.
How are these three bonds different from previous bonds that PLESD has put on the ballot?
Previously PLESD has placed one bond on the ballot that would pay for an entire school. The 2022 bond would have been for $45 million but needed 66.7 percent approval. The three bonds placed on the 2024 ballot each need 55% approval but are limited by State law to raise $18 million each and can only cost taxpayers $30 per $100,000 of assessed value. 

Would it be cheaper if we consolidated districts?
Presently, the Plumas Lake Elementary School District caters to pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students, while the Wheatland Union High School District (WUHSD) serves ninth through twelfth-grade students. The two districts have engaged in several 2x2 meetings, involving two board members and the superintendent from each district. These discussions primarily revolve around shared land and future facilities. Among the ideas explored is the consolidation of the districts—a long-term prospect that requires community consensus and would take several years to materialize. Both districts are collaborating on a fiscal study to determine the feasibility of this merger.

It's important to note that consolidating districts wouldn't eliminate the necessity for bonds. Even if the districts combine and construct a full high school with added classrooms for 7th and 8th graders, the project could easily exceed $200 million. Alternatively, building a middle school and a small specialized high school could cost around $150 million. Both scenarios would necessitate the passing of PLESD Measures V, W, and X, along with multiple WUHSD bonds. Some community members believe that district consolidation could yield operational cost savings substantial enough to cover the bond expenses. However, even if savings amounted to $1 million annually (an optimistic estimate based on initial financial assessments), it would take over a century of savings to finance a 7-12 complex.

Furthermore, projections indicate that PLESD's PK-6th-grade student count is expected to approach 1900, warranting the necessity for a fourth elementary school. Ultimately, the construction of two school sites remains imperative.
Can’t we use the District office to house the students? 
Initially, the District office served as the sole school in the Plumas Lake area, accommodating 100 students until the construction of Rio Del Oro in 2004. Since then, it has functioned as the district office. While it's possible to convert it back into a smaller school, the renovation costs to accommodate 150-200 students would range between $30-40 million. While this could serve as a temporary solution, buying the district an additional 2-3 years until a fourth school site is established, it's a pricey option that would require the approval of at least one bond on the ballot.

Additional Information

Learn more about our project and help us ensure Plumas Lake can fund building The Fourth School:
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