The Los Banos Unified School Board meeting on July 13 spotlighted many achievements by individuals in the district, provided facilities updates and included a discussion of future high school graduation dates and times.

The meeting began by highlighting the graduation of six adults from the Los Banos Adult Education Diploma Program. The semester-based program is conducted primarily through small-group instruction and web-sessions.

The program is of no cost to the student, includes flexible morning and evening classes for adults who are in the workforce and includes a Spanish GED preparation course. Since the program was established, there have been 36 graduates, including 16 during the pandemic.

This month, the graduates included Ronaldo Rivas, who will be looking into a career in law enforcement, and Sarah Rodriguez, who will be enrolling in college in the fall.

Later in the meeting Tony Robledo, Athletic Director at Los Banos Junior High School was named the Middle School Athletic Director of the Year by the Central Section Officials Services Association. Making the presentation of the “Making a Difference Award” was association representative, David Borboa. According to Borboa, Robledo was given this award for his dedication to the students, hard work and ever-growing passion for what he does.

In the facilities report, it was affirmed that Phase I renovation of Loftin Stadium will be completed by August 1, the bid was awarded for Phase 2, and Phase 3 will be discussed at the next board meeting, once the architect’s agreement closes.

Permission to seek bids for the modernization of Los Banos High School was also awarded at the meeting.  Buildings A, H and J will be re-roofed, and the Tiger Gym, administration building and security systems will be renovated. Construction is expected to start in 2024 and end in 2025.

Toward the end of the meeting, a discussion-only item took place concerning changing high school graduation dates and times. At the June board meeting, Board Vice-President Gene Lieb asked that the discussion item be placed on the July agenda.

The discussion was to see if there is a way to have both Los Banos and Pacheco high school graduation ceremonies occur at different times in order for board trustees, school administrators and the public to attend both ceremonies.

Board President Anthony Parriera said that years ago graduation used to occur on the last day of school. However, some students would have been prevented from participating in graduation because they had still had work to turn in or finals to complete.

Parreira added that graduation was changed to the Friday of the last week of school. When it was changed, one high school would hold their graduation ceremony at 5 p.m. while the other would have its ceremony at 8 p.m., with the schools switching times each year.

The problem with this arrangement, Parreira said, was the concern about partying by students who participated in the earlier graduation, well before the Sober Graduation event which didn’t begin until after the later graduation. The plan was never put in place.

Since Pacheco High’s first graduation ceremony in 2013, both high schools have held their graduation ceremonies on Friday night at the same time.

Ongoing discussions will continue with Superintendent Mark Marshall having discussions with administrators at both high schools as to future possibilities.

Prishaa Vala