WESTMORLAND – “We shouldn’t let a postcode dictate the quality of education for students,” said Westmorland Union Elementary School District Superintendent Richard Cordero.
The Westmorland Union School District recently received $ 130,000 from Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) Renewables to fulfill the district’s “wishlist” of items to improve and improve the school district. The Berkshire Hathaway Energy Foundation funded the award.
“We are thrilled with this partnership as these students could be part of the much needed future workforce in the Imperial Valley,” said Jonathan Weisgall, vice president of government relations at BHE Renewables.
Cordero said he was approached by CalEnergy Operations in March 2020, where he was asked about the district’s modernization needs. After inviting representatives from CalEnergy to visit areas in the district and collect feedback from the community, a wishlist was drawn up with varying levels of needs.
“We came up with what we would call a ‘wish list’, for lack of a better word, of things that we would consider, depending on the size of the grant because at this point there was no indication of the amount. money, ”Cordero said.
In October 2021, BHE Renewables responded with a donation. The district was fortunate enough to be allocated an amount that would incorporate all of the improvements listed. However, due to inflation, the estimate that was submitted for the original wishlist is no longer accurate.
Cordero is now tasked with prioritizing the wishlist via input from educators, before sharing the new list with the board, getting quotes, and starting the hiring process to complete the handful of projects.
The initial wish list included updating the junior high school grounds, installing a walking track, updating basic equipment and play areas, and providing a program and additional socio-emotional resources for teachers and students.
However, Cordero said some of the big-ticket items that he says will already be on the new list include a walking track, benches along the classrooms where students can sit and enjoy the shade. provided by the overhang of the building, replacing the old tables with new ones. which include built-in games such as checkers for kids to use during breaks and repairing college volleyball courts.
“We are a very needy community. Our students and the school have a specific need which sometimes cannot always be funded by our regular funding source, ”Cordero said. “So this money will definitely benefit us for the implementation of more safe and exercise zones that our students will benefit from, which we probably wouldn’t be able to implement without these extra dollars.”
Cordero will meet with teachers during the first week of November to prioritize the new wishlist before sharing it with the board. He hopes the projects will be completed by spring 2022, but cannot confirm with 100% certainty what will happen.
“For me, that’s kind of the timeline I’m working on… While these are bigger projects, they’re not overwhelming projects. I think they are achievable within three months of construction, ”he said.
“Our students deserve it,” Cordero said.