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School district relying on bond and grants to fund programs, equipment

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily TribuneThe South Tahoe High School theater could get some upgrades as part of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District's Master Plan.
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South Tahoe High School could have a Green Academy and an Arts, Entertainment and Media Academy if a June general obligation bond measure passes.

“We think people would move for that,” said Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent James Tarwater.

The bond measure ballot language will be finalized by the end of February.



Arts, entertainment and media is one of the largest industries in California. Not many schools in the area offer vocational classes in the field, so it would make LTUSD an attractive school district for parents and students.

If the bond passes, Lake Tahoe Unified School District would receive $5 million to replace portables and $6 million to finance a new career academy at the high school.



The state will provide matching funds of $11 million for the projects through grants if the bond passes. If it doesn’t, the district can’t receive the money.

These projects and others are part of LTUSD’s Master Plan. The plan includes construction at the high school, middle school and elementary schools that the June bond measure would finance if passed.

Board member Angela Swanson said the district submitted four grant applications to the state Career Technical Education Facilities Program. The program helps districts build career technical education facilities and modernize existing structures.

The district must match the amount of money for which the grants are written in order to receive them, otherwise they will be awarded to other districts. The first two grants are for the Green Academy, which would supply building construction and automotive programs for the high school.

The other two grants are for the Arts, Entertainment and Media Academy. This would fund new equipment for the high school’s Performing Arts Center and fund a video-production studio.

Swanson said she feels good about the grants, because they were well-written and original.

Not many high schools in the area are creating media academies. Most of the competition is with agricultural academies, so Swanson thinks the district’s odds are good.

Tarwater said he thinks the bond will pass. In January, the Center for Community Opinion surveyed 403 residents in the community. It found 61 percent of those polled would support the bond, and 68 percent would support it after receiving information on the potential projects it would fund.


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