The USD 329 BOE met Monday for a special meeting to discuss the bond options. Discussion included a new option and questions for the previous bonds discussed. Here are some highlights from the discussion.
A new option was introduced to the board members. Option 12 is an $8.1 million bond that includes closing PMS and MHES, moving sixth grade to WJH and moving fifth and all elementary students to Alma. $4 million would be set aside for general maintenance for the buildings and of that, $800,000 would go to improving the AES kitchen.
How will 7-8 fit in the high school?
The board questioned, if they went with Option 11, how the seventh and eighth graders would fit. The architect showed them certain diagrams on how it could potentially be done. She suggested that their classes would all be on the third floor, to lessen the interference with high school students. She also suggested that the old gym and locker rooms could be renovated for them. A plus with 7-8 coming to the high school is that they could start the CTE classes sooner, and the district would then receive more money from the state.
Potential for extra security
Tony Conrad asked if there was potential for a breezeway to be added to connect the old building to the new building at the high school if it was kept. With the breezeway there would be more security for the fewer times between buildings. He stated that the shop buildings will always be hard to strengthen security though.
Steve Murray questioned how three teams will benefit from two gyms, one with a divider, during certain seasons. He said that it wouldn’t be the varsity or jv teams that would suffer in the crowded space, but instead it would be the C teams. It was then suggested that the junior high could still be bussed back to Paxico for practices.
Getting the bond right
The board members expressed its aim to consider the future of the proposed bond, so that in 20 years the district doesn’t have to consider another. They mentioned that some options may not have include money for renovations, which could mean the high school might need to be heavily renovated in 20 years. Justin Frank said that he wants the new buildings to last just as long as the ones we have now.
The board members all agreed that bussing around the district is inefficient. It is no secret that students are on bus rides for two and a half hours a day. Kelly Oliver compared our district size to others and found out it is similar to most in the area. Justin Frank said it would be cheaper to fund gas and more drivers, instead of building schools in different towns.
The board plans to set goals for the future at the board meeting next Monday. They will decide if they want to propose a bond before January 13 to make the deadline to have an election in April. If they feel that they are rushing it, then they will wait for the November election.
— Eleanor Badeker, Kaytlyn Meseke, @ellybadeker, @kaytlyn_nelle