Initial bond proposal fails to be approved

More stories from Ellen Garrett

The most recent school bond issue proposal failed after a 2,766 to 2,136 decision on Nov. 7. Community members have given some insight to the various aspects of the bond that they were opposed to, but no definitive reasons have been given to explain why exactly the issue failed.

“Concerns like the total dollar amount of the bond, it could be the need for a school south of highway 50, it could be the grade configuration at the middle level, it could be something as simple as, some people don’t want to pay for a third gym [at the high school], ” superintendent Deborah Hamm said.

As a result, the school board is planning to conduct a survey of the community in January in order to build a better bond for the next school year. The board is hoping that the survey results will give insights to the needs and opinions of the community. The next bond will be completed by the 2018 fall semester.

“We could start as soon as May of this year. In all likelihood, with a new board starting in January, we will be looking at November,” said Hamm.

The board is planning on partnering with and using the same companies that were used for the past bond, DLR and GravityWorks. Hamm said community involvement is crucial to a bond’s popularity.

“I think the way to involve people is to put something out there that they don’t want so they will get upset about that, so then they become involved in it.” Hamm said.

Hamm said one influence on the community’s opinion on the bond is the lack of knowledge of the interior needs of the high school. This can affect the influence of the interior issues on a community member’s vote.

“When people drive by the high school, they think the high school looks really good, because it does, and yet when you get into the interior of the school, you see what the needs are,” Hamm said.

Hamm maintains optimism about the future of the ability to work with the community to pass a bond.

“I think people had an opportunity to vote this time, and they’ve had lots of conversations in the community about the bond, so now taking that information and putting it into a new proposal that people can support, I think we’ll get there [to an appealing bond].” Hamm said.