City to lose control of West High pool
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 28, 2014 | 4195 views | 18 18 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Swimmers from Ellis Aquatics practice in the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center on Aug.18. Tracy Unified School District voted Tuesday to end an agreement with the city and take control of the pool.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Swimmers from Ellis Aquatics practice in the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center on Aug.18. Tracy Unified School District voted Tuesday to end an agreement with the city and take control of the pool. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Swimmers from Ellis Aquatics practice in the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center on Aug.18. Tracy Unified School District voted Tuesday to end an agreement with the city and take control of the pool.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Swimmers from Ellis Aquatics practice in the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center on Aug.18. Tracy Unified School District voted Tuesday to end an agreement with the city and take control of the pool. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
Tracy Unified School District trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize district staff to end an agreement with the city and take control of the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center at West High School.

The board voted 6-0,

with board member Gregg Crandall absent, to terminate the memorandum of understanding with the city of Tracy. The district will likely use $1.4 million left over from Measure E — a $51 million school bond passed by Tracy voters in 2006 — to pay the city, which is entitled to the costs of the community buildings and 25 percent of the final construction costs and design and construction management costs, according to the agreement.

The decision was met with some resistance from representatives of youth swim groups, who worried that the proposed change would result in higher pool fees.

Marsha McCray, of the Tracy Tritons Swim Club, read a letter into the record from Tritons Pres-ident Molly Lowe, whose group rents the pool.

In the letter, Lowe reminded the board that the Tritons have used TUSD pools for more than 13 years. She said that in 2000, there was no charge to use the pools, and this year, it cost $368 for one swimmer to be a part of the Tritons.

“It makes us sad that we have to charge that much money to provide an opportunity for swimming in our community,” McCray read.

At an Aug. 12 meeting, the TUSD facilities and planning director, Bonny Carter, told the board that once the district had full control of the pool, it would increase the charge to use it from $36 an hour to $175 an hour.

Lowe, in her letter, asked that the issue of fees be placed on the agenda for a future board meeting so the trustees could hear from the various swim groups in the city. Lowe also recommended spending the $1.4 million to improve other school facilities — increasing the pool at Tracy High School to regulation size, for example — rather than buying out the city’s interest in the pool at West High.

“The fact that sports teams might not be able to utilize the only 50-meter pool in our town, because it will no longer be under control of the city, is really distressing,” McCray said, reading from the letter. “We have to make facilities reasonable and affordable.”

Sandra Walther, a member of the Tritons swim team who graduated from Millennium High School in May, advised the board to reconsider raising the fees. She said the burden of higher costs would fall upon the parents of swimmers, which could mean fewer options for Tracy children.

A member of the committee that worked to pass Measure E, Michel Bazinet, told the trustees that they needed to be open about how the money from the fees would be spent.

After they had all spoken, board President James Vaughn suggested that they should be looking to the city to build swimming pools for the community. When he was growing up in San Francisco, he said, the city provided amenities such as neighborhood pools.

“We do value the swimmers of Tracy,” Vaughn said. “However, as our role as a school district, we have to serve our students first. The students of West High, that is their pool.”

Trustee Kelly Lewis stressed that the board was voting only on the buyout on Tuesday.

“We’re not looking at fees tonight,” he said. “We are going to come up with something that is fair and reasonable. We are just talking about taking back control of the pools. We have no plans to eliminate all the youth groups. We will be re-evaluating the fees. We’re going to get input from the swim groups.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

 
Comments
(18)
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MrSycamore
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September 01, 2014
It's sad that the TUSD could not work with the local swim clubs. I've seen a lot of these swimmers in our community and they represent the City very well! I hope the clubs are able to reach an agreement in the short-term that can benefit all parties. If not, it just shows that the TUSD does not care about the community but rather the $$$!
ertion
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August 30, 2014
hmm. my quote from the Measure E text ommitted the pool statement (from the TUSD measure E page)

"At West High School, Measure E will provide funds to:

Build a swimming pool for use by both Physical Education classes and the community.

...."

So yeah, what Ornley said. If Winston Churchill were still around, I think he'd have to change his famous quote quite a bit to have it apply to TUSD.

"Never have so many done so little with so much."
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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August 30, 2014
My my my, how conveniently forgetful Crandall an Vaughn have become. Perhaps they need ta review th Parks an Recreation Commission meetins, of which they were both active an vocal participants an look at th assurances they both were givin people that when th pool was built at West High that it would be a cooperative effort by th District AND th City an th City would pony up th monies set aside ta build a community pool. Some in those meetins were firmly against it an stated then that th district was not to be trusted ta honor it's word that th pool would be available fer public use. Those were talked down an consequently th City went forward an got inta bed with th district on this an th results are as they are seen taday. I don't want anyone ta beleve me on this. Go an look at th public records of these meetins an see fer yerself what Crandall an Vaughn were sayin back then. Th City should have never gotten inta bed with th School District. Ever notice that when th district has a problem, say somethang like th parkin over by Tracy High, that it's always th City's fault? You guys thank th City's corrupt but can't see th decades of corruption in yer elected school board.
behonestguys
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August 30, 2014
Well said Mr . Napolitan, I mean Ornley.
emmaspencer
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August 30, 2014
How true, Both the city TUSD have been corrupted ever since I moved here in "95", and not just with each other, there's also SURLAND CORP.and too many others to list here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
norcaldad
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August 29, 2014
One question for the school board. Are Kimball's and Tracy High's pools operational all the time for their students? Kimball's pool is broken down every other week and Tracy High's pool is a joke. They can't play a serious water polo game in the dive pool. It is the size of a bathtub.
mtrew
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August 29, 2014
Agreed
pso17
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August 29, 2014
Tritons, Ellis and any other swim club in Tracy, know that the school district and the city do not care for your swim club, they do not care about a swim facility or your swimmers. The school district and the city only care about highschool sports period. Now is the time, seize the day, go to all the corporations nearby (Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Oracle, SAP) and get your own facility sponsored by them. This city doesn't appreciate swimmers, the public doesn't care about using their tax dollars to buy you a new swim facility unless their children are apart of your club. The time is now. Tritons, you deserve better, you shouldn't have to beg for handouts. Get your sponsor, get a great facility built, change your name to fit your sponsor, have year round swim lessons. Go For It!!!
fortheunderdog
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August 29, 2014
The city had no business trying to negotiate with TUSD over the use of West High's pool. If the Tracy Tritons, or any other city leagued team, want to use a pool let them build their own. Why should taxpayers foot the bill to have a private swim team practice and compete in a pool paid for, and maintained, by taxpayer money. I find it offensive that a parent would write and say the Tritons were not paying rent to use the pool. If the Tritons want to use it they can use it when it's not being used by West High swimmers but have them pay rent too. Or, they can snuggle up with the city for use on the watering hole pool that's supposedly going to be built near the Ellis project near the airport. What's wrong with this city? Don't get me started.
pso17
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August 29, 2014
I agree with fortheunderdog, this person represent the mindset of the majority of citizens here in Tracy. With so many home owners with pools why would they care about sponsoring a public swim facility to create great competitive swimmers to represent the great City of Tracy. Swim clubs, go seek out a corporate sponsor. Just look at the pool built for Kimball High, prime example of a school district's after thought. You would have thought it would be similar to the one built at West High.
Locmas
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August 30, 2014
The swimmers have someone that will foot the bill for a swim park, but Steve Nicolaou wrote an article suggesting we write a bill to pay for it with more taxes. There are two people who do not live in Tracy who sue to shut down parks in and around Tracy. They have been creating delays for years while collecting money from the state for use of parks near Tracy. These two people and folks like Steve want to create more delays. Most of the people fighting each other don't know that two people who don't live in Tracy put a cr@ppy initiative on the ballot called Measure Q, for quality, that scr@w@d Tracyites and then sued to prevent water parks. She instead handed out poppy seeds & coloring books & drove back to her ranch on Corral Hollow Rd/Tesla Rd near the Alameda County Line. Why does someone who does not even live in Tracy want to prevent you from building a swim center? Why does Steve want delays and more costs added in the form of ballot box taxation? Why do people like rayderfan and other faceless creatures grin when they read that Serpa's plan is delayed again? Because you are being outnumbered @ meetings. Carnegie saved their park by sending people to meetings in droves.
Locmas
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August 30, 2014
fortheunderdog claims that "the city had no business negotiating with TUSD", but that stage was set years ago by two people that do not live in Tracy. One of them wrote Measure Q, for quality and then delayed Serpa's plans. The other ran for office, claiming that Tracy should solve the pool shortage. When she went door to door she thanked us for voting for her Measure and then showed us her flyer that listed her plan to resolve what she called a "quality community". She essentially told us that because of her ballot we approved, we would benefit from what she called "joint use" of school pools. I thought it sounded great back then. I later learned she was trying to delay the swim center and shut down nearby Carnegie Park as well. I got in touch with some supporters of Carnegie and found out that the only thing that could stop those two from shutting down Carnegie would be 1. Getting informed and 2. Massive number of people at meetings to drown those two party poopers out. That is exactly what happened and to this day when she drives to her ranch on Tesla, she sees that Carnegie park remains open because we had enough people who were concerned enough to outnumber them at every meeting. Carnegie stands because of people just like you and me.
emmaspencer
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August 30, 2014
SERPA IS ANOTHER ONE "CITY OF TRACY" has been in bed with for too many years " corruption,corruption,corruption. It goes on yr.after yr.after yr. All to get a "SWIM-WATER-PARK" built on property taxes building permits for the developers!!! Just think for ONE moment TAXPAYERS, HOW MUCH OF "OUR" MONEY HAS BEEN PISSED AWAY FOR THIS STUPID PROJECT!!!!! I CAN RECALL " millions " !!!!!

SIGNED ONE PISSED OFF TAXPAYER

ED NELSON ( 209)740-9785
Locmas
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August 30, 2014
My son used to not like to eat vegetables. He said they were "stupid". But turns out vegetables are actually good for you.
firstofall
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August 30, 2014
emma spencer, Do you know how many millions they spent on River Island, Mountain House or anything else? Just because you don't like something or someone does not mean your ill feelings toward them are accurate or legitamite claims. Other people in Tracy want a swim center. Read what Steve Nicolauo wrote in this week's paper. He said he would gladly pay extra tax for a swim center.
MrSycamore
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September 01, 2014
I would think the swimmers are the underdog here.
ertion
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August 28, 2014
"The students of West High, that is their pool."

One, question, Mr. Vaughn. The property tax money for operating West High, the money from Measure E to improve it, the money from future bond issues--does that come ONLY from families of students of West High? Or does it come from every household (directly via home ownership, indirectly from rent) in Tracy? You know the answer to this.

Did not the citizenry vote for Measure E partly because of the new pool at West High, which WAS touted as a community pool, not ONLY as a high school pool?

Check out your own Website about Measure E. This is what it says about the pool:

At West High School, Measure E will provide funds to:

Construct a stadium complex for school and community use.(https://www.tracy.k12.ca.us/businessservices/facilities/SitePages/Measure E Projects.aspx)

Could you explain to us, Mr. Vaughn, how you came to this conception of the pool being soley for the use of the high school? You need to listen to Kelly Lewis.

mtrew
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August 29, 2014
Ertion- great point. Thank you. Secondly, other cities seem to be able to work well with school districts and community groups to offer reasonable agreements in regards to facility use. Why does it always seem to be a problem here? Can't we get our you know what together for our kids?


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