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Placer County a Regional Education Hub

 

Woodcreek News
Jack Duran
January 2017 

Placer County-A Regional Education Hub 

Higher education institutions in western Placer County have long been a topic of discussion. California State University Sacramento (CSU) will soon open an extension that will eventually become an independent CSU located within the Placer County’s Placer Ranch Specific Plan Area.  Great Britain’s Warwick University, located in Coventry UK, is set to open both graduate (Roseville) and undergraduate campuses (West of Westpark) in Placer County, the first campus outside of England.  Sierra Community College will open its annex in western Placer County and of course we will continue to relish and support the successful William Jessup University located in Rocklin.  

In District 1, I am ecstatic to report that the Roseville Joint Union High School District will build a sixth high school, this one planned for the Westpark development, west of Fiddyment Road and north of Pleasant Grove Boulevard in western Placer County.  This school will ease the crowding at the district’s other five campuses and improve the quality of the education and the opportunities for high school students. 

These projects continue to make Placer County an educational hub, not only for the Sacramento region, but the state. I am proud to have supported these projects, the High school project specifically of which, I assisted with its land acquisition, formation of the school facility infrastructure district and school design, while serving District 1 residents as a School board member and its President from 2006-2010. 

As this area continues to grow, the need for quality high schools is even greater, given the existing overcrowding. Currently some students are bused to schools outside their attendance area to ameliorate overcrowding. While the educational benefits are manifest with a new school, there are also an incredible number of additional benefits from the project.   

The high school will not only contribute to improving secondary education in District 1, but the university projects will be a selling point for Placer County as a thriving destination point and community for generations to come.   

Last November, Placer County voters OK’d Measure D. This will provide the district $96 million to not only build the new school but to update and upgrade the other five schools.  Some are in disrepair and all will get the improvements they so badly require. It’s worth noting that the measure needed a supermajority of 55 percent to pass.  Nearly two-thirds of the district’s voters gave the measure a “thumbs up,” indicating widespread support for the high school specifically and education in general. In addition to the monies provided by the bond measure, developer fees will also contribute to the estimated $30 million cost of the new school.  Thank you District 1, for your vision and enthusiasm in voting to build this important high school resource. 

Bond funds will be overseen by a Citizen’s Oversight Committee to ensure that funds are used only for their intended purpose.  Having served on both Roseville Elementary School District’s (Measure D) and the High School District’s (Measure J) Bond Oversight Committees, I understand the importance of ensuring tax payer money is used properly and wisely.  I encourage those of you who are interested in the High school’s bond oversight committee to contact the District at (916) 786-2051, visit the District’s website at www. rjuhsd.k12.ca.us. or contact any of the five board members whose contacts are on the website to enquire about the selection process. 

As I have said concerning education’s economic development component, “it is the gift that keeps giving.” The high school construction will provide tradesmen jobs. When they’re done, the first phase of the school will open to approximately 1,200 to 1,400 students, and that number will increase yearly. At capacity, the school will have 2,400 students.  

A new high school will translate into jobs for about 50 to 60 teachers and administrators.  In addition, there will be counselors, custodial help, maintenance and groundskeepers, cafeteria staff, bus drivers, clerical and office staff and coaching staff, which can include teachers. These will be secure jobs with a secure employer. As companies continue to locate their operations to the nearby Sunset Area, there will be additional quality, well-paying jobs. 

The new high school will be sited a short distance from the planned CSU campus and Warwick University. This will no doubt provide benefits to high school students by having two universities within walking distance.  While many high school graduates can’t wait to go away to college, I’m sure many are likely to choose to attend a nearby university.  As a parent of college-aged kids, currently attending Sierra Community College, I’m sure I’m not alone in liking the idea of keeping my children close to home. 

Finally, the end product, the graduated students, will hopefully reside in Placer County, further contributing to the workforce, culture and local businesses. This collection of quality schools in Placer County sets up this area to become recognized as a center of world-class career preparation. We will have higher education that can supply training and education to the fastest growing fields in the nation: healthcare, business, industry and technology. Additionally, Sierra College will not only continue to serve as a place to earn an associate arts degree, be a stepping-stone to four-year universities and colleges, plus providing training for the trades and other professional fields, all of which can provide well-paying jobs.   

Education will continue to be one of my top priorities in the years to come and I look forward to seeing the universities break ground and get underway. 

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you. I always welcome your feedback and can be reached by e-mail at jduran@placer.ca.gov or by phone at 916-787-8950.

 

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