Poland school board approves resolution to put bond issue and levy on ballot
By Jordyn Grzelewski
The school board approved the final measure needed to put a bond issue and tax levy on the November ballot.
Board members voted 5-0 at a special meeting Wednesday night to proceed with submission of a ballot measure to ask voters whether to authorize the school district to issue bonds in the amount of $28,265,910 – which is to be repaid over a maximum 34-year period – to levy a 4-mill property tax to pay for the bond and to levy an additional 0.5-mill property tax.
Bond funds would be used to build a new school facility; the 0.5-mill levy would be used to maintain it.
“It’s a very exciting time. I think we’ve got a plan that our community can support,” said Superintendent David Janofa.
This step comes after the state approved the district’s participation in a program that helps school districts build new facilities. The state will pay 19 percent of the total construction cost.
If voters approve the ballot measure, school district officials plan to construct a single building for kindergarten- through eighth-grade students at the current site of Dobbins Elementary.
The plan, which previously was to build two new buildings, recently evolved to the one-building concept.
The Dobbins building would remain in use during construction and then would be demolished to make room for parking when construction is complete.
That new building would have separate classrooms, gymnasiums, dining areas, entrances and drop-off/pickup sites for elementary and sixth- through eighth-grade students, Janofa said.
A one-building plan knocked about $4 million off of the project’s price tag, Janofa said. Now, the cost of constructing a new building is comparable to the cost the district would incur to make needed repairs to current buildings should the ballot measure fail, he said.
“Right now the cost for repairs and the cost for new is very, very similar,” he said.
If voters decide against building a new school, the district likely would seek a five-year, 3.5-mill levy that would generate a total of $6.6 million. The district would then likely seek renewals.
“It could take 20 years of repairs before our buildings will be viable,” Janofa said.
Before the vote, board members expressed concern over what they believe is a public perception they plan to have old school buildings demolished.
“It’s not our intent to raze historic buildings,” Janofa said.
In the meantime, the district will move forward with building consolidation for the 2015-16 school year. District officials eliminated the use of one elementary school, with plans to eliminate another, in the face of declining enrollment.