329 BOE to address bond questions at town hall

Jason Miller teaches geometry January 21. Miller’s room was torn apart to fix a water leak, one of several in the WHS old building. The board is discussing a bond issue to meet maintenance challenges in aging buildings.

USD 329 Board of Education is hosting a town hall meeting to inform citizens about bond options and respond to questions and concerns from the community.

The town hall meeting, 6 p.m. January 28 in the WHS commons, will be a roundtable discussion where patrons will be able to listen to positive and negative concerns for each option, tax impact, clarification on bond process, time line for the bond and information on conditions of buildings and budget.

The commons will be split into four sections of two board members. Each section will be 15 minutes and patrons have the opportunity to listen and ask questions. Three of the sections will focus on each option, option 10, 12 and 16,  and the other will be primarily for the importance of the bond.

Option 10 is a PK-12 building in Alma, where athletics will be kept, an attached campus and no modulars. The cost of the bond is $30 million, but approximately $13.5 million is the cost of bond after savings.

An $8 million bond, option 12, includes renovating the old WHS building, a PK-5 in Alma, 6-8 in Paxico, no modulars and upgrades to the junior high and WHS gyms. The cost of bond after savings is approximately $2.3 million.

Option 16 is a $24 million bond that includes a PK-6 in Paxico, 7-12 in Alma, rebuild all but new WHS building, no modulars, new vocational areas and attached campus for security. For option 16 the cost of bond after savings is approximately $11.6 million.

At the last board meeting, members made it clear that a bond is important for the future of the district. If a bond is not passed the board members they will have to take matters into their own hands and potentially shut down schools. “Patrons please come and help us make important decisions about our schools,” superintendent Brad Starnes said.

More information on the bond and the meeting is available on usd329.com.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @kaytlyn_nelle

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