SPCS to hold community meeting on bond

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Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 11:26 am, Tue Mar 25, 2014.

Mark your calendars: Monday at 7 p.m., the Springfield Platteview Board of Education will host a community meeting on facility improvements that will play a large part in determining if and when the district moves forward with a bond election.

The community discussion will be part of the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting. The focus will center on the information the district recently collected from residents through a 15-question facility improvement planning survey.

The surveys were sent out in December as a follow-up to the district’s unsuccessful November attempt to pass a $35.7 million school bond that would have seen renovations and additions to all four district schools.

As of the Board’s Jan. 13 meeting, more than 400 completed surveys had been received by the district. Those respondents included a good mix of those who voted for the bond last November (44 percent), those who voted against (46 percent) and those who did not vote or are undecided (10 percent).

The election itself solicited 2,523 votes, with 58.3 percent in favor and 41.7 percent against the proposed bond.

Springfield Platteview Superintendent Brett Richards said many district residents who voted against the bond felt it would be too big of a tax increase. The bond would have been a 24.5 cent increase on the current levy, costing the owner of a $150,000 property about $365 more in taxes each year.

“That said, over 58 percent of survey respondents would consider supporting the district going out for another bond election if changes were made to the amount,” Richards said.

Of the results available so far, the greatest consensus among those who would consider or were unsure about supporting a bond was for facility improvement as a way to compete with surrounding districts, with 79 percent of respondents indicating this was important or very important.

The surveys also found that 69 percent of respondents would support replacing the district’s nearly 40-year-old electrical, mechanical and heating and air conditioning systems, while 66 percent would support replacing portable classrooms at the two elementary schools by repurposing space or creating permanent additions.

Other potential improvements had less agreement. In terms of creating tornado shelters on each campus, 51 percent would support the idea if it meant an additional 10 to 12 percent in costs, while 40 percent were against it and 9 percent were undecided or had no response.

Traffic flow and parking lot improvements were even closer, with 39 percent in favor, 38 percent against and 23 percent undecided.

Richards said he was glad the district decided to send out the surveys and grateful to those who responded. The district will analyze the results with architects in February and possibly amend the bond.

According to survey results, 56 percent of respondents would support a bond election this May or November.

The Board of Education would need to have a resolution on the issue passed by March 10 in order for the bond to appear on the May election ballots.

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