Final push to inform voters on bond issue

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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:00 am

The parking lot at Platteview High School was filled with cars for the high school’s fall vocal concert on Monday.

Up the street at the same time that evening, the Board of Education’s proposed question-and-answer session about the $35.7 million bond issue saw two community members in attendance.

Brenda Sherman, the board president, wasn’t particularly surprised by this.

“We had very low attendance at the sessions on Saturday,” she said.

The sessions Sherman was referring to were informational meetings about the school bond election that were held at all four district schools and were followed by guided tours of the facilities to explain the renovations and additions that have been proposed.

District residents who are registered to vote received their ballots for the bond election beginning Friday.

“I think we had seven participants total at those sessions,” district superintendent Brett Richards said Monday in an interview. “There seemed to be three people that were solidly for the bond and four that needed to find out more.”

Richards said the lack of participation at bond-related events is not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think the silence may be affirmation that people already feel they have the information they need to make a decision,” he said. “You never know until the ballots come in, though.”

Sherman said she had heard nothing but positive feedback from constituents about the bond issue, as everyone seems to understand the need.

Richards agreed that everyone he had spoken with knew that the proposed renovations and additions were necessary. However, some still felt that the proposal was asking for too much.

“Some individuals have trouble with the price tag,” he said. “Nobody has said that we don’t need this, but they still have trouble with the amount.”

The $35.7 million bond issue would be a 24.5 cent increase on the current levy, costing the owner of a property valued at $150,000 a total of $367.38 more in taxes each year.

Nancy Laiman was one of the two constituents in attendance at Monday’s meeting, and she also mentioned having “sticker shock” at first.

“I don’t think it will pass this time, but I do support it,” she said.

She mentioned the district’s last bond effort, in 2003, which she felt passed mainly due to support from parents.

Although her youngest graduated from Springfield Platteview five years ago, she still planned to vote “yes” on the bond issue and was planning to get a yard sign from the S.A.F.E. committee.

“I just remember how much the renovations from the last bond helped my kids,” she said.

Richards said he hopes district residents without children attending the schools can still see the value in the bond.

“It’s about paying it forward all the time,” he said. “We still need to make things better for the next generation.”

Ballots are due to the Sarpy County Election Commission by Nov. 12. If the bond passes, Richards hopes the district will be able to have a contractor selected within five weeks of the election, with work to begin as soon as next summer.

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