Springfield Platteview to consider $25.3 million bond issue

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:00 am

A decision on a second attempt for a school bond in Springfield will be made Monday.

The Springfield Platteview Board of Education will meet Monday to decide whether to ask voters to approve a bond package that knocks $10 million worth of projects off the district’s unsuccessful November bond issue attempt.

A committee of the school board is recommending a $25.3 million bond, which is more than the $24.9 million the board was considering at its last meeting. If the board approves going forward, the bond issue likely would face a vote during the May 13 primary instead of a mail-in ballot

The board’s site committee, made up of Brian Wichman, Kyle Fisher, Bob Icenogle and Superintendent Brett Richards, met last Thursday with architects Pat Phelan and Mike Krof of the DLR Group to talk about the specifics of the bond proposal.

“We went through the areas we could save money and where we couldn’t,” Richards said. “At the end of the meeting, our recommendation was a $25.3 million bond.”

The committee will present that recommendation to the full board for discussion Monday, at which point the proposal could be approved, amended, scrapped completely or put off for later — a decision that would mean no bond vote this May unless a special meeting was called.

Richards said the current proposal includes all the renovations and additions to the elementary school from the bond issue that faced voters in the fall. The junior high school will have all of its proposed renovations but no additions, which means the school’s proposed gym/tornado shelter combination wasn’t included in the proposal.

The proposal allows for high school renovations, refurbished locker rooms and a new media center space, with the old media center area to be used for art classrooms or science labs. A proposed addition of administrative offices at the high school was removed.

The most controversial reduction was the elimination of a walkway to connect the junior high and high school, as students and teachers often pass from building to building during the school day.

Although several board members advocated for the walkway as a safety measure at the last full board meeting, Richards said the site committee couldn’t find a way to make it work while also significantly cutting the size of the bond — the main reason the district believes the November attempt was unsuccessful.

“Because site work would be so expensive between the junior high and high school, we would have had to give up other things to get that,” Richards said. “The board has to make tough choices to narrow this thing down.”

The $25.3 million bond is nearly a 30 percent reduction from the November bond issue. The district, according to an announcement on its website, said this would result in an increase to the tax levy of about 16.5 cents compared to the estimated 24.5 cents from the first bond attempt.

The owner of a property valued at $150,000 would pay about $250 in additional taxes annually if the site committee’s proposal is advanced by the school board and approved by voters. Had voters approved last year’s attempt, taxes on the same property would have gone up by about $370 annually.

Public testimony will be accepted on Monday prior to the school board making a decision. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the district’s central office, 14801 S. 108th St.

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