USD 340 board gets figures for proposed bond issue
by Clarke Davis
Submitting a bond issue to voters in the Jefferson West school district is far from being a done deal after hearing comments at the school board meeting Monday night.
Superintendent Pat Happer laid out some cost estimates for repairs to facilities, enhancing technology, and improving the sports facilities that ranged from $2.85 to $3.31 million.
The board has always thought of considering something around $3 million that will not exceed eight to 10 years and not carry a larger mill levy than the high school bonds that got paid off last year.
Board President Jeff Van Petten was quick to pour cold water on the list of projects. He thought the list leaned too heavy on athletics — new locker facilities and a concession stand at the football field, new football field lights, reseeding the field, resurfacing the track, and some improvements to the baseball field along with some visitor bleachers.
What concerns Van Petten more was the technology proposal. He said he wanted to float some money for technology to get the district up to speed, but besides the $705,000 initial outlay from the bond issue the board was told it will cost $460,000 a year to maintain and keep everything upgraded.
“Where’s that money going to come from?” he asked.
Linda Jones-Giltner noted that everything on the list were items that had been discussed and were needed and many had been put off too long.
She and Dreana McClurg believe it’s doable. “We just have to figure out how,” Jones-Giltner said.
Van Petten said too much of the capital outlay fund is committed for other projects, such as the bus barn to take up the slack on these other items.
Happer noted that he had included a new roof on the high school and could throw in a school bus or two to take the pressure off the capital outlay fund.
“The list of improvements to the facilities makes sense, but this is not salable,” Van Petten said. “There will be no money to maintain this technology plan. We’ll wind up with something we can’t pay for.”
The board scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, at the administration building to continue to iron out a plan.
The board must pass a resolution by Feb. 7 in order to hold an April 3 election.
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