Campus revamp brings pride, security
The Fillmore High School bleachers can be seen in the distant background. The football field is being prepared to receive water lines from our new water treatment plant. Every effort is being made to complete the project before graduation. The outcome, however, is uncertain.
The Fillmore High School bleachers can be seen in the distant background. The football field is being prepared to receive water lines from our new water treatment plant. Every effort is being made to complete the project before graduation. The outcome, however, is uncertain.

The Fillmore Unified School District has been very busy overseeing the execution of long awaited upgrades and renovations to Fillmore’s schools, especially at the Fillmore High School campus. The school, main recipient of the District’s recent efforts, was established in 1909. The oldest building on the present campus was erected in 1938, and today, educator to 1000 students, some bussed from as far away as Newhall Ranch.
Those familiar with Fillmore High School could not deny the long deteriorated condition of the buildings and grounds. The high school renovation that began six years ago is nearing completion. Commencing in July 2001 with the rehabilitation and renovation of the Science Building, the modernized structure reopened for student use in August 2002.
More recently, work was completed on a new parking lot and outdoor basketball courts, new concrete in the quad, and replacement of asphalt in the horseshoe. Major plumbing upgrades included the renovation of five previously un-useable student restrooms. Numerous new doors in both the Arts and Administration Buildings have been installed and the cafeteria and gym sport a new, fresh look. Importantly, disability access has been upgraded throughout the campus.
The final phase is noticeably in progress. Improvements at FHS include regrading and resurfacing the football field with artificial turf, regrading and installation of an all-weather track, new lights and fine, no-climb fencing. A new state of the art, remote access scoreboard, financed by the Fillmore Lion’s Club through donations in memory of Hank Carrillo, will be installed sometime in July. Painting of the exteriors of the Library, two classroom buildings and the Administration Building is scheduled for this summer. More obvious however, is the installation of eight-foot fencing along the perimeter of the campus, complying with a 2002 study by the Ventura County Grand Jury, and the recommendation that all high schools in Ventura County install such perimeter fencing in an effort to not keep students in, but to keep perpetrators of problems out. Fortunately, little violence occurs between students. School officials report that every major event on campus has involved non-students against students. However, in 2007 alone, the school suffered costs of $30,000 due to vandalism and $20,000 from burglary offences. Most high schools in the County installed this type of fencing years ago.
Other area public schools have received upgrades as well. In the spring of 2003, work began after the District won State funds to construct twenty-two new classrooms at termite damaged Fillmore Junior High School. The classrooms were operational in the summer of 2005. Recent ongoing projects include new frontage fencing for the Junior High, completion of the new multi-purpose room and cafeteria at Mount Vista Elementary School, and exterior painting and asphalt work at San Cayetano Elementary School.
It takes an enormous amount of money to finance projects of this magnitude. Since 2001, the cost has been $32,000,000 and an additional $7,000,000 planned for the high school, San Cayetano and Piru Elementary Schools. Funds have and will come from a variety of sources including State bonds and grants, an obligation bond, mostly used for Mount Vista, and the sale of high school property (site of the old, debris filled pool and tennis courts), to the City for the proposed community swimming pool and refurbished tennis courts. Upon completion of the heated, competition-regulation pool, an agreement between the City and the FUSD will allow Fillmore High School students to use the City owned facility for physical education and competition. Along with funds collected from the community through a yearly maintenance tax (measure B5), FHS will participate in the maintenance costs.
Dr. Michael Bush, Ed.D., FUSD Assistant Superintendent, Business, is currently managing this enormous undertaking. He stated that budgetary problems in funding education are directly related to low tax levels from years of Proposition 13 (low property taxes), and consequential dependence on other tax revenues, and that the shortfall contributes greatly to California’s ranking of below forty-five, in the country. And since the final phase of renovations is funded through facility funds restricted to capital improvements, the current State budget challenges will not derail the process. Dr. Bush also believes in not allowing funding issues to tear at the fabric of the community. His job, he stated, is to fight hard for available monies and opportunities, and to make sure that Fillmore schools receive their fair share, necessary to realize state of the art learning institutions. He, along with many others, is dedicated to the goals of a finer education and a brighter future for the youths of Fillmore, and restoration of the respect and pride for their schools, displayed by students of previous generations. So much has been accomplished through education in Fillmore’s schools, despite their decaying condition. Could you imagine the achievements in surroundings of which one can be proud?