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Tri County to vote on school bond proposal

By Judy Reed

Residents in the Tri County Area Schools district will head to the polls on Tuesday, May 7, to vote on a $37,020,000 bond proposal to help create a community campus.

The voters defeated a similar proposal in November. So what’s different about this one? According to information found on their website, they listened to the voters. 

“Feedback from the community was that the 1.0 mill increase was too high and they wanted to see more of the dollars go toward education. The November 2018 proposal of $40,785,000 was then reduced to the new $37,020,000 for the May 2019 (bond proposal),       reducing the tax contribution from homeowners by 75 percent and saving $3.7 million,” they said.

The new proposal is a .25 (one quarter) of a mill increase over what they currently pay. The owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 and a taxable value of $50,000 would see a $12.50 annual increase.

They also reduced the project in scope to cut costs. They moved the high school auxiliary gym to the new elementary, combining the functionality and space of both an elementary and auxiliary gym at a fraction of the cost. They also eliminated the new parking lot by the football field, decided to keep the softball field in its current location.

Based on voter feedback, the May 2019 proposal is focusing more on educational opportunities, and will pay for long-term capital projects, such as a new elementary school, building expansions, and classroom remodeling. This would require an expected 4.631 mills to be levied over 25 years. The ballot proposal focuses on three main areas: Community Coming Together for Kids, Improving Educational Opportunities for Kids, and Capital Improvements.

Community Coming Together for Kids

*Community Campus with a new K-5 Elementary school

*New cafetorium that provides an 800-seat auditorium for student and community use (plays, concerts, events). This space will also function as a cafeteria.

*Upgrades to Middle School and High School classrooms and furniture

*Additional gym space for school and community use

Improving Opportunities for Kids

*Upgrades to Science labs and equipment

*Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) program supports (examples; computer sciences, robotics, 3D printers, media)

*Elimination of bus hub and improved bus routes to reduce student ride time

*Improved utilization of District-wide services to better meet the needs of each child (social work, nurse, speech/language, etc.)

Capital Improvements

*Security enhancements

*Interior upgrades

*Elementary playground upgrades (age appropriate)

*Addition of sidewalks to create community walking paths

*Energy efficiency improvements

*Field improvements

If the bond proposal passes, construction would start on the new elementary school in 2020.

For  more information, visit http://tcbond.info.

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