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Board of Education Approves Bond Resolution

At the August 4, 2014 meeting, the District 145 School Board passed a resolution calling for a bond issue on the November 4 General Election. This action occurred after approximately two years worth of conversations, planning, meetings, and discussion by board members regarding the future needs of our district. The purpose of the bond issue is to approve funding for district improvements in the areas of technology, safety and security, and facilities. The total bond issue to cover these projects will be $15,580,000.

Many steps have taken place prior to arriving at this decision. Fifteen public meetings have been held since October 2012 with district patrons for the specific purpose of developing a direction for the school district. The architectural firm DLR Group conducted a facility study in 2013. The recommendations of the community groups were examined and a plan was developed.

Our student population is growing steadily, at an average annual rate of 1%. The student enrollment in 1990 was 1,519 and grew to 1,780 in 2000, then declined for a few years until beginning to grow again. In 2013, official K-12 enrollment was 1,867. In 2014 we expect that number to increase as we anticipate our largest kindergarten group numbering nearly 170 students. Our district enrollment could approach 1,900 students in the 2014-15 school year.

The Board of Education has made a commitment to continue investing in our students by presenting a bond issue for consideration to the voters. District 145 continues to be one of the largest employers in the district, and our schools are a primary reason why people continue to seek residence in Alvo, Eagle, Prairie Home, Walton, Waverly and the surrounding areas.  

A successful bond election in November 2014 would allow the district to complete facility projects, phased in over a period of several years. The plan minimizes the impact on the current district tax levy until the bonds for Waverly High School are paid off in 2016. The state places fiscal constraints upon school districts, which limits our ability to generate revenue to meet all of the identified needs. The Board of Education has been maximizing its ability to generate revenue for several years to meet our priority needs, while also limiting expenditures and finding ways to improve our efficiency.

In the past few years, we have addressed multiple projects, such as replacing a portion of the heating and cooling system at Eagle Elementary, installing a new heating and cooling system at Hamlow Elementary, and replacing some of exterior doors, as well as the interior fire doors at all three elementary schools. We have close to 500,000 square feet of facilities to maintain, plus parking lots and school grounds. We have been adding classroom teachers and activity sponsors to our staff, purchasing new curriculum materials, adding technology equipment, and we continue to purchase new school buses for our fleet. This year we are budgeting money to purchase new uniforms in 2015 for the Waverly High School Band. There are many demands placed on the financial resources available.

The proposed bond issue will allow significant work to be completed at Eagle Elementary, Hamlow Elementary, Waverly Intermediate School, and Waverly High School. To view a history of our facilities, and learn more information about the planning process, click here for previously published information.

Proposed projects at each school that are identified for the bond issue include:

Hamlow Elementary

  • Main entrance access control, security system upgrades
  • Update technology network components
  • Fiber optic cabling for bandwidth
  • Increase Wireless Technology Access
  • Restroom remodel
  • Lighting upgrades
  • Gym floor multi-purpose surface
  • Replace asphalt and concrete

Eagle Elementary

  • Main entrance access control, security system upgrades
  • Update technology network components and increase wireless technology access
  • Remodel 1974 portion of building: carpet, lighting, restrooms
  • Replace Exterior Insulation Finish System (EFIS) with panels

Waverly Intermediate School

  • Main entrance access control improvements
  • Update technology network components, fiber optic cabling for bandwidth and increase wireless technology access
  • Update security system, phones, intercom, fire alarm system
  • Update heating system
  • Restroom updates
  • Lighting updates
  • Replace asphalt and concrete
  • Classroom updates

 Waverly High School

  • Update technology network components
  • Main entrance access control
  • Update security and phone systems
  • Increase wireless technology access
  • Roof replacement (1998 portion)
  • Carpet replacement
  • Classroom updates
  • South parking lot replacement
  • Replace Exterior Insulation Finish System (EFIS) with panels
  • Viking Stadium improvements include track and runway surface repairs, repairing asphalt paving, repairing sidewalks and fence posts

Waverly Middle School opened in 2008, and would receive improvements to its security system, and our district technology infrastructure, which is located at WMS. 

The Community Advisory Groups emphasized the need to improve both technology, and safety/security in our schools. The bond issue would allow a significant upgrade to the district technology infrastructure and equipment. Students and staff would have substantially greater access to digital curricular content, information and resources for instructional purposes. It would also provide an integrated security and communications system to provide safer facilities.

The current (2013) total tax levy in our district is $1.217. The tax levy for 2014 is expected to decrease due to an anticipated increase of property valuations. School districts must certify their tax levy annually to the state of Nebraska in October. A successful bond election will have no impact on the 2014 tax levy.  In a future article, I will describe how the referendum will affect tax payers and we will provide information based on the 2014-15 property valuations, which are not currently available. Property valuations for the 2014-15 school year are provided to school districts from the County Assessor’s Office by August 20 each year.

Each property owner is impacted differently with property tax levies. We are fortunate to be living in a growing and thriving area. We will provide information on our website, as well as host public meetings and events to provide information to our patrons. We want our patrons to be educated regarding our school district, and to allow voters to make an informed decision at the polls in November. I would be happy to speak with anyone concerning individual and/or general questions they may have concerning the bond issue.

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