District lists projects for proposed bond

Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the district, presented the school board Tuesday with list of projects totaling around $18 million to be included in the proposed school bond.

He said he met with administrators, building supervisors and some faculty from each school to determine what renovations were needed at each site.

"I call it a no-frills kind of thing," Mitchell said. "We want to keep existing systems working efficiently."

He said the proposed projects are very basic. For example, he said about $4 million was allotted to replace broken asphalt.

"Replacing asphalt is not glamorous," he said.

Superintendent Jim Parry said the administrators are anxious to keep costs down.

"I'd say about 85 percent of principals did not want to have to raise taxes," Parry said.

According to Martin Johnson, the bond consultant for the district, the bond must remain around $15 million in order to not raise taxes.

However, Parry said the district wants to involve the community in the decision-making process to determine if residents are willing to pay a higher tax to implement more changes.

"I see us very shortly doing some sort of community survey over the phone," he said.

For right now, Mitchell said they are concentrating on the projects that really need to be done.

He said the goals have been broken down into about five different categories.

The first is to protect investments already made. Mitchell said he opposes suggestions the old school buildings be torn down.

"Those buildings are good strong buildings," he said. "I think we should take care of those buildings and not tear them down."

The second is to provide a safe school environment with secure locks and an effective districtwide communication system.

Third, Mitchell said that all sites should provide equal opportunity to learn. He said some schools are air-conditioned while others are not.

"We're not treating everybody equally here," Mitchell said. "I think we need to do that."

The fourth objective is to get all classrooms technologically sound. Mitchell envisions white boards in every classroom where teachers can project directly from a computer.

Fifth, he said more educational opportunities need to be made available. He said the high school biology and chemistry labs cannot accommodate all the students who wish to take the classes.

Although the list presented to the board was relatively simple, Mitchell said there are some parents in favor of large renovations.

Board Member Bob Crowell said he would like to some changes that are not absolutely necessary.

"We're not doing much for the aesthetic of education," he said. "If we're going to want first-class kids coming out of our school, we're going to have to think in first-class terms."

Parry said he does not expect the school board to make the decision for or against the bond until May.

Voters rejected a proposed $48 million bond in the 1996 elections.


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