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Copper could get another school


Copperopolis is growing, and the town's elementary school is almost out of room.

That's why Mark Twain Union Elementary School District board members say it's time to consider building a new school campus — soon.

Board members yesterday discussed putting a bond measure on next spring's ballot to build a new middle school in Copperopolis. A report compiled by a district-hired consultant said Copperopolis Elementary School could be at capacity in three years.

Officials said they don't know how much the bond measure would total, but they want it to include enough for a new gym at Mark Twain Union Elementary School in Angels Camp.

At the next district meeting on May 29, the board will vote on whether to adopt the consultant's report, titled the Mark Twain Union Elementary School District Facility Master Plan.

"What we're voting on at this stage is a commitment to go forward with this thing," board Chairwoman Jennifer Eltringham said. "We're going to have plenty of time for public input, and hit the critical dates for state funding."

Copperopolis Elementary School Principal Julia Tidball said bond-measure passage is "critical" to the district's future, because it's the only way to get matching funds from the state.

District voters previously rejected two bond sales, but Tidball is optimistic about this one, because, she said, it will offer improvements on both ends of the school district.

Also, she said, the measure will only need 55 percent of the vote to pass.

Normally, bond measures require a supermajority, or two-thirds of the votes, to pass. But Proposition 39, passed in 2000, redefined the term supermajority for certain types of bond measures — ones that don't generate as much money.

Both of the failed bond measures went to the voters before Proposition 39 was passed, but received at least 55 percent, Tidball said.

"It's going to take a lot of work and a lot of community involvement, but I think we can do it," Tidball said.

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