Concerned residents continue to voice support for Georgia Brown

PASO ROBLES — On Fri. Mar. 12, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees toured campuses slated for Measure M improvements.

The following day, Saturday, Mar. 13, at 8 a.m. Trustees met for a board meeting to discuss and study all the current projects.

Throughout the meeting, public comment was filled with citizens concerned with the Georgia Brown Elementary campus’s possible closure. Georgia Brown is home to a popular dual immersion program and is located at 525 36th Street off Oak Street.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

An unnamed member of the public asked a question during the first presentation, “On a positive scenario, what could we have done in regards to Measure M money to repair Georgia Brown? I know it’s not going to be perfect but flipping it on a positive side, what other possibility can be done given Measure M money?”

Brad Pawlowski responded by saying, “With the $13 million that are allocated right now there are options that we can sit down with an architect, and we can tell them ‘the budget is $13.8 million, that includes all soft costs, so their design costs, it’s going to include all of the inspection costs, it’s going to include all the fees we pay a DSA and design something that will fit that need. We can do that. We can sit down with them and see what they can present to us. It will be a challenge–it will be a stretch to see what we can do.”

The Georgia Brown campus requires various repairs, including leaking roofs which are so deteriorated that they need to be replaced entirely. Three wings on the campus are original from the 1950s and need to be brought up to code.

Trustee Chris Bausch said, “We can’t really rebuild Georgia Brown. If the board decides to keep Georgia Brown, it would have to come back to approaching the $21 million that was originally estimated to rebuild it. More than the $13 million that was allocated in measure M. That’s a real tough decision.”

Superintendent Curt Dubost did remind trustees, “As you stated before, the board could vote if they chose to eliminate another project and reallocate those funds to a different project within the [same] scope.”

Callers like Elena Garcia and many others said they understand the district is looking at closing the Georgia Brown campus with the dual immersion program moving to another school.

During her public comment, Garcia mentioned that despite the district’s impression enrollment is declining, it is relatively steady.

Garcia said, “The district is stating that the nearly $14 million originally outlined to be allocated to Georgia Brown is not enough to adequately complete the repairs and renovations necessary for that campus. I believe that’s accurate, but I ask the board why was Georgia Brown allowed to get to this state. The state that it is in today. It didn’t happen by accident. The district clearly made the decision time and time again not to address the needed repairs. It was not an accident. Clearly put, the Georgia Brown campus has never been at the top of the district’s priority list, and that clearly remains true today–do not pull the rug from under these students and families.”

Trustee Nathan Williams requested an action item to be added to a future agenda. Williams requested an item to be added to discuss grants Swim Paso hopes to apply for funding the Aquatics Complex. There is no set meeting for when this item will be added to the agenda.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Mar. 23. You can watch this and other PRJUSD Board Meetings on the district’s YouTube page.