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Measure U passes
Voters in the Ceres Unified School District passed Measure U last week and sent Bill Berryhill, a Ceres rancher, to join the state Assembly with his brother, Tom Berryhill.

Measure U received 7,229 yes votes to 2,901 votes, or 71.36 percent to 28.64 percent. It allows 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. To pay back the debt service on Measure U, an assessment of up to $60 for every $100,000 of assessed valuation will be placed on property annually for 30 years. A property with an assessed valuation of $200,000 would be assessed by another $120 per year.

"This sends the message that this community believes that investing in schools is the best thing and the right thing to do," said Walt Hanline, superintendent of the Ceres Unified School District.

The measure only needed 55 percent for passage. Hanline said that because the measure exceeded the two-thirds majority threshold pleased him.

Polling data confirmed that the community was supportive of Measure U all along, said Hanline. Hanline said the Measure U committee was comprised of "a powerful group of people."

Now CUSD's task is to move fast to get into construction.

"We're going to have to move very very fast," said Hanline. "We have a whole a whole lot of projects to do. There is about a billion dollars available on this bond sitting in Sacramento and we have to move fast to get some of that."

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

CUSD officials will us Measure U to improve vocational education at Ceres High School and adding a third junior high schools to avoid overcrowding.

CHS will receive a $3.8 million 8-classroom wing and replacement of portables. Measure U also helps 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. Modular classrooms would look like permanent buildings and set on concrete pads and have a life of 80 to 100 years.

Measure S, the half-cent sales tax measure for roads in Stanislaus County, failed to obtain the 66 percent plus one vote majority for passage. The latest vote count showed that S received 79,021 votes, or 65.88 percent, to 40,926 no votes, or 34.12 percent.

The measure would have increased local sales tax by a half-cent for 20 years to raise an estimated $700 million for road maintenance and road construction projects.

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

Bill Berryhill appeared defeated Turlock farmer John Eisenhut for the state Assembly's District 26 seat. Berryhill, a former member of the Ceres Unified School District Board, received 55,940 votes, or 52 percent, to Eisenhut's 52,308 votes, or 48 percent. Berryhill polled better in San Joaquin County than he did in Stanislaus County where things were closer. In Stanislaus County, Eisenhut had 20,884 votes against 20,701 for Berryhill.

Voters in Hughson selected firefighter Doug Humphreys and rancher Ben J. Manley to the Hughson City Council. Humphreys appeared headed to victory with 988 votes and Manley with 922 votes. Retired city manager Henry G. Hesling Jr. lost his bid by coming in third place with 809 votes.

Ramon Bawanan was the lone candidate on the ballot to become mayor of Hughson.