Bond committee shores up ideas for 340 election
by Clarke Davis
It appears the Jefferson West school board is destined to hold a bond issue in April, although the details are still in committee.
A bond issue is being considered and timed so that when the high school bonds are paid off this year, a new bond issue will not be an increase to the property taxes.
Amounts around $3.5 million for a period to eight to 10 years are being discussed, which is said to not be any greater than the current mill levy on debt and probably a mill or two less.
The main items that head the list of needs are improved technology, the track and football sports complex, and updating needs in the various buidings.
One paper with estimated costs lists the following:
- Infrastructure: electrical improvements in the buildings, $500 thousand;
- Technology: Computers to address one-to-one initiative in the attendance centers, $1.7 million;
- Facilities replacement: Building to replace stadium locker room, restrooms, and concession area, $1 million;
- Facilities upgrades: Stadium track resurfacing, $135 thousand; replacement football field lights, $180 thousand.
Neuenswander said more work has to be done to identify other needs, noting that the board should not overlook fine arts, music and other areas of the educational complex.
In meeting the competition among school districts in trying to attract students, the committee members talked about the district’s “front porch.”
“Is it inviting enough to want to enter the school?” they asked. About 10 percent of the district’s students are from outside the district.
President Jeff Van Petten wanted to know the timeline to get a bond proposal before the people in April, but it was not answered. The board has to pass a resolution, which it has not yet done.
Beside keeping a level mill levy, the timing may prove critical if the state Legislature stops funding 40 percent of local bond issues. If passed in April, the bond issue would be grandfathered in under current law. The committee members also noted the low interest rates on bonds at the present time.
Other committee members meeting on the bond question as advisors to the school board are Tonya Holthaus, Jason Boyer, Terri Dean, Alan Hein, Mark Majors, Mike McLin, Roberta Hagemann, Terry Middendorf, Chuck Wilson, Tresea Graber, Jason Roenne, Stephanie Kaniper, Stacey Anderson, Troy Fleischer, Bob Anderson, and Joe Glatz.
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