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Big choices riding on Tuesday
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Voters in the Ceres Unified School District will decide the fate of Measure U on Tuesday while countywide voters will decide what to do with the half-cent sales tax increase in Measure S.

If approved, Measure U would allow CUSD to issue $60 million in bonds to upgrade all Ceres schools and designate $25 million for a third junior high school. Matching funds from the state would also be provided to help pay for the upgrades. Measure U would place an assessment of up to $60 for every $100,000 of assessed valuation annually for 30 years. A property with an assessed valuation of $200,000 would be assessed by another $120 per year.

The measure would allow all five recently built schools - Sinclear, Berryhill, La Rosa, Adkison, and Hidahl - to receive a library/computer lab/ classroom complex. Measure U would also allow CUSD to replace aging portable classrooms and upgrade bathroom facilities at the older schools.

CUSD officials will be concentrating on two aspects of Measure U: improving vocational education at Ceres High School and adding a third junior high schools to avoid overcrowding.

CHS would also receive a $3.8 million 8-classroom wing and replacement of portables. Measure U would also help pay for a $10.5 million 16-classroom wing at Central Valley High School.

Most of the schools would see a replacement of older portable classrooms with more permanent modular classrooms. Hanline said that the modular classrooms would look like permanent buildings and set on concrete pads and have a life of 80 to 100 years.

Measure U requires a minimum of a 55 percent majority to pass.

County voters will be deciding whether sales tax should be raised for roads. The measure would bring on a 20-year tax increase to raise an estimated $700 million for road maintenance and road construction projects.

Half of the revenues would be spent on local road maintenance and spent as the cities and county see fit, while the other half would be used to construct new roads. The formula would give Ceres $27.6 million for local road maintenance.

The pot of money for new road projects is being split for spending in three corridors: northern, central and southern. The Service/Mitchell/99 interchange project would take a $30 million chunk of the central corridor monies of $350 million. Ceres officials orginally requested for $62 million for Service/Mitchell.

In the other corridors, the new tax dollars would be spent to improve Highway 132 in Modesto, Highway 108 in Riverbank and Oakdale, and the West Main Corridor in Turlock, Newman, and Patterson.

Voters in Hughson will be electing new leaders. Ramon Bawanan is the lone candidate for mayor of Hughson but three persons are seeking seats on the Hughson City Council.

Retired city manager Henry G. Hesling Jr., firefighter Doug Humphreys and rancher Ben J. Manley are in the running for two seats on the council.

Ceres farmer Bill Berryhill and Turlock farmer John Eisenhut are battling it out for the state Assembly's District 26 seat.