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Measure T blooms in Paso Robles

jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Students in Theresa Clark’s horticulture class busily assembled colorful blossoms as part of their assignment inside Paso Robles High School’s new Career and Technical Education Agriculture Academy building.

The $6 million, three-wing facility is now full of students after a year of construction.

The new facility — with state-of-the-art welding stations and a walk-in cooler — replaced a three-decade-old building that was in need of repair.

“With the new facilities, we are able to provide students with the ability to do experiments and projects with better equipment in the laboratories and brand-new curriculum that meets a higher level of education,” Clark wrote in an email.

The facility, which broke ground last summer, has space for agriculture and horticulture classes. There’s also a large welding shop and classrooms where students can study viticulture.

The building was funded by Measure T, a $20 million bond and property-tax increase passed in November 2006 meant to expand and upgrade Paso Robles High School, because the student body has outgrown the campus.

Measure T added a tax increase of $11.90 per year for each $100,000 of a property’s assessed valuation.

The tax increase remains in effect until all of the bonds are paid off with interest.

It may seem strange to see new buildings popping up at a time when teachers are being laid off. But the school district isn’t allowed to use Measure T money to pay teachers or cover other shortfalls. It is only for infrastructure.

The next project is the high school’s 20-classroom building currently under construction.

It is scheduled to open for the 2012-13 school year.

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