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Overcrowding Forces CA School District to Do the Right Thing Regarding Construction Hiring

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The Salinas Union School Board voted in favor of using a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for construction of a new high school, a move they believe will ensure local contractors are hired.  The board made the decision by a 5-1 margin, following a $128 million bond to fund school construction and improvements approved by ballot measure in November.  Trustee Evamarie Martinez cast the lone dissenting vote.

Details of the PLA will be ironed out before the next board meeting.  Board President Lila Cann told The Californian that the board also had hopes of employing recovering military veterans and minority-owned enterprises.

Andy Hartmann of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) spoke to KSBW 8:

“I think it’s a great step in the right direction for working families.  “Really the intention is to get local workers on the project and that’s really one of the great tools that a PLA is able to accomplish and so that’s what we really want to is to get local labor out there.”

There was rigorous debate during the public hearing period but Cann told reporters both sides were “civil” and “respectful.”  The PLA is the next step towards a project that has been years in the making.  Overcrowding has forced the district to move more quickly of late. Superintendent Tim Vanoli told KSBW 8, “If you look at this time versus last year there’s 400 more students in our system and it’s only going to continue to grow so the need is there.”

The board adopted a separate resolution regarding pre-qualification procedures and rating systems for contractors and subcontractors seeking the high school construction work. 

The PLA is the first of its type for the district.  The new high school, the district’s fifth, will be built on a 29-acre site in North Salinas.  It is estimated to cost $90 million.  Construction is expected to break ground in the Fall.  


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