North County School Board members voted Thursday night to put a no-tax-increase bond issue on the April 7 ballot. Other bond issue-related actions named the proposition and approved the legal wording for the ballot.
If approved by four-sevenths of the voters, Prop S: Safety, Security and Students would raise about $13.5 million. After $177,000 in fees and processing and some non-negotiable expenses—such as paying off the lease-purchase of the high school multipurpose building– the district would have about $9.8 million for capital improvements to spread throughout the district.
The wording on the ballot asks district voters to: complete safety and security improvements, repair or replace roofs, increase energy efficiency by replacing HVAC systems, upgrade music rooms and the auditorium, address ADA compliance issues, replace kitchen equipment, install new playground equipment, resurface the existing track and prepay the Series 2019 lease financing for the multipurpose building at the high school.
The debt service levy of the school is estimated to remain unchanged at $1.2134 per $100 assessed valuation of real and personal property.
Board members had met Tuesday night in a work session to choose which projects to prioritize. Levy said during the meeting that safety and security projects would likely be the first priority, followed by ADA improvements, then capital improvements such as renovating the track and playgrounds.
“We need to have a hierarchy as far as where the funds go, since we don’t yet have a dollar amount attached to all the projects,” Superintendent Jeff Levy said Tuesday night. “We’ll get to as many as we can.”
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Levy noted the district’s 63 HVACs need to be replaced. Board President Randy Hubbard noted, “You’re pushing about $400,000 right there.”
Should the issue pass, the board will have about 36 months to spend the money, phasing in much of the construction or renovation over three summers.
In other business during Thursday night’s board meeting, Levy provided information about five policy updates or additions to be voted on at February’s board meeting. He said two of the policy amendments were required, the other three were optional.
The first, Policy 1210, takes into account state legislation that stipulates school cannot begin more than 14 days before the first Monday of September, Levy said. The second is optional and would amend the policy on student use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, adding CBD products to the list. The third and fourth policy changes would deal with Narcan, which is used in case of opioid overdose. Not only would Narcan be on campus, but it would be able to be used in case of emergency on students or employees. The final policy board members heard about dealt with drug testing for various drivers in the district. Levy said drivers are already drug tested, but now there’s a clearinghouse similar to what is used for teacher background checks. All drivers must be listed by 2020. Levy said the district is already compliant, but the policy formalizes it.
The board also approved food service with Aramark for the school year, OK’d a fiber connection bid that would create a fiber network with a hub at Parkside Elementary, and approved a Category 2 switches bid and month-to-month WAN connection bid in support of the fiber network effort.
The board approved adding fast-pitch softball for middle school girls, whose only other sport option to date had been Track. The team is expected to form next spring.
In addition to reports provided by Assistant Superintendent Katie Bockman and Associate Superintendent Jason Samples, Levy reported he is looking into the Community Education Provision that would provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. He said their eligibility in the program would be known by April 1. He said he is also looking into preschool expansion for students ages 3-5.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at email@example.com.