Student safety and making essential improvements to the school district’s buildings are at the forefront of a $14.1 million bond request voters will consider on Tuesday, May 5, all accomplished without raising property taxes, said Superintendent Bill Fetterhoff.
The district’s current debt is set to expire from the current levy of 4.8 mils to 3.2 mils. As a result, the district is proposing a new bond issue which will continue the existing debt millage at the same level.
“There are three debt levies that make up the 4.8 mils, and one of those debts is going to be paid off,” said Fetterhoff. “This is our window where we can generate bond monies and do so without raising any taxes.
“We see this as needed to maintain our buildings with a focus on student safety,” added Fetterhoff. “The bond would make possible energy savings as we bring our costs down.”
What Passage of the Bond Would Fund
Specifically the funds would be used to:
- Create new secure entrances for all school buildings by requiring visitors, after they’re buzzed in, to go first to school offices supervised by staff members. Currently, only the High School has such an arrangement but even that building would undergo improvements. Other school buildings that would undergo security improvements are the school district’s middle school and two elementary schools, North Godwin and West Godwin.
- Purchase three new school buses.
Pending approval, the bond issue would also improve traffic flow before and after the school day and thus enhance student safety. Specifically:
- At West Godwin Elementary and North Godwin Elementary there is an intermingling of foot traffic, school buses and parents driving their children to school and picking them up afterward. At West Godwin, a bus loop would be created at the entrance off of 36th Street, which would create a secure area to drop students off.
- Middle School: On the east side of the Middle School, a private road would be created that would funnel buses off of Wexford Street, giving parents a safer area to drop off their children.
- High School: Create a bus loop off of 36th Street and construct a cut out in front of the building so there’s a loop for parents to safely drop off their children in the front entrance.
“In doing so, there would be supplemental parking areas west of the High School at the dead end street at 34th Street at Opal Avenue which dead ends into the High School property,” said Fetterhoff. “A separation of traffic is a big point of the plan.”
Other improvements are also planned:
- Install new flooring in all school buildings, either with carpeting or polished concrete floors, which will help reduce allergens.
- Fill in an indoor pool at the High School campus and thereby create an auxiliary gym that will allow the district to have more athletic activities under the same roof, such as wrestling and volleyball competitions, plus install an elevated track that can be used both for district use and the community.
- New furniture in the classrooms in every school building.
- Make improvements to the district’s HVAC system.
- Make technology upgrades to meet students’ current, future and ever-increasing technological needs.
“These would include hardware replacements and additions as well as infrastructure upgrades and expansions, all of which will be continued to be used for instruction as well as formative and summative assessment,” said Fetterhoff.
The district’s tennis courts and softball field would be reconstructed, said Fetterhoff. “They’re often the first things people see,” he said.
Long-overdue improvements to the football field, including replacing the natural grass on the football field for synthetic turf, which would also enable soccer teams to play in a secure setting instead of a nearby city park. Two new locker rooms, one new concession stand, and new restrooms for spectators and guests.
Need to Maintain Value and Integrity
“The Board of Education’s goal is to improve and upgrade the school district’s facilities to maintain their value and longevity,” said Fetterhoff. “The bond issue is intended to help meet the goal in this regard.”