Saturday, 25 May 2024

Merodio: It’s time to hold the LUSD Board accountable

The Westshore Pool in Lakeport, Calif. Photo courtesy of Agustin Merodio.

Over 15 years ago I enrolled my children in the Lake County Channel Cats swim program because I realized that by living in Lake County, they desperately needed to know how to swim.

When I joined the Channel Cats, I didn’t realize that teaching kids to swim would become a huge part of my life. In addition to teaching swim lessons for the Channel Cats, I am now the head coach for two high school swim teams – CLHS and KHS.

Both of my children not only learned to swim with the Cats, they also went on to swim in college – both earning swim scholarships based on skills they had learned with the swim team. We have taught hundreds of Lake County kids to swim.

Nationally, drowning is the No. 2 cause of death amongst children. But we are currently beating that statistic in Lake County because we are still able offer swim lessons.

For the last 50 years, the Channel Cats have been able to offer swim lessons at the Lakeport Unified School District’s pool – Westshore Pool – located on the grounds of Clear Lake High School.

Several years ago, when the Westshore Pool required some costly repairs, we thought we were about to lose our ability to offer swim lessons.

But then the superintendent of LUSD at the time – Erin Hagberg – came to the Channel Cats and said she had a solution. The school district was going to put a bond initiative on the November 2014 ballot that would contain enough money to build a new pool on the grounds of Clear Lake High School.

We were hopeful and optimistic. The Channel Cats promoted the bond on the promise of a new pool. The school district printed brochures containing pictures of a pool that would be built if the bond was passed.

Though many people told us that the district would renege on their promise of a pool, we never faltered in our support of the bond. And, in November 2014, the bond passed with many community members stating that they only voted for it because of the promise of a pool. We have been waiting since that moment for even a glimmer of construction on the pool.

The waiting is now over because we learned at the LUSD board meeting on Sept. 6 that there is not enough bond money left to build a pool. The money has already been spent and the pool construction isn’t scheduled.

I am terribly disappointed that we were deceived when we voted for the last LUSD bond. My disappointment leads me to believe that there need to be changes made to the LUSD Board. In the end, the bond decisions, priorities and fiscal management falls to the board. They need to be held accountable for ignoring the will of the voters.

I know that Carly Alvord, Dan Buffalo and Jen Hanson understand what the voters expect, and that the safety of our children must be taken seriously. If you want accountability, you must vote for change.

Therefore, I recommend Alvord, Buffalo and Hanson for the LUSD Board.

Agustin Merodio is head coach for the Lake County Channel Cats and the swim teams for Clear Lake and Kelseyville high schools. He lives in Kelseyville, Calif.

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