"We have a big decision ahead of us," said school board President
Three package options were forwarded by the district's Capital Improvement Planning Committee. The total list of capital needs came in at
"The magnitude is so great, it's difficult to fund it all," said
Option one includes what are considered the district's highest priority items, while option two includes almost all the projects supported by the committee. Option three, the most expensive, adds in more needs.
Even the "lean" option is well above the district's last bond issue, which totaled
Board members asked questions about the equity of adding air conditioning to 10 schools as recommended, as well as asking for more information about two expensive items, a
The priority two package includes
A new central kitchen and a new
District officials said a central kitchen would be more efficient and solve current problems with regional production kitchens. Now, the district uses three regional kitchens "shoehorned" into the existing kitchens at three schools, with a fourth likely to be needed soon. The regional kitchens are disruptive, district officials said, and don't have adequate storage space.
School board member
Messinger also noted that about half the money in the priority one package would go to repairs and renovations, which the district can't afford to fund through its regular budget because of inadequate overall state funding.
That category includes heating, ventilation and cooling system improvements; restroom renovations; roof repairs and repairs to address code compliance issues. Also on the priority two list are improvements to classrooms to allow for education innovations, with projects determined by individual schools. On the athletics side, middle-level track improvements and renovations to high school stadiums also made the priority two list.
The committee considered the results of an online survey and community forums in making its recommendations.
The online survey, with 427 respondents, found facility repair and maintenance and renovations or additions for programs were strongly supported. Least supported was expanded meeting and training space. Air conditioning, athletic facilities, innovative learning spaces and energy efficiency were well represented in both the most and least important categories.
At seven community forums to get feedback on the categories people felt were most important for inclusion in the next bond issue, attended by 194 people, different communities identified different priorities. But overall, 90 percent listed renovations and additions as very or moderately important, and 78 percent said facility maintenance and repair was very or moderately important.
Opinions were split for districtwide air conditioning, with 57 percent saying important versus 41 percent as not important, and expansion of new facilities for athletics, with 60 percent saying important versus 39 percent saying not important.
The results of political polling are not yet available.
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