North County School Board members met in a work session Tuesday night to discuss details on a possible bond issue they’re thinking of proposing in the April election cycle. They’ll vote on ballot language and other final details during tonight’s meeting at 6 p.m.
Tonight’s board meeting agenda includes a public comment portion. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Levy said if audience members would like to ask questions or comment, they’ll need to sign a public comment list in addition to the regular sign-in list.
Levy said the no-tax-increase bond issue, if approved by four-sevenths of the voters on April 7, 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.
Tuesday night’s work session brought a crowd of more than a dozen constituents who also weighed in with their opinions on possible projects and prioritization.
“It was good to hear what our emphasis should be, and the order of priority. We’ve reached a point where we have to narrow it down,” Levy said.
Levy said discussion during the meeting indicated 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,” he said. “We’ll get to as many as we can.”
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To determine what projects would be prioritized by the bond issue, Levy attached four oversized-tablet sheets to the board room walls that listed key projects for the primary, intermediate, middle and high schools. The projects were proposed by administrators from those buildings.
Next to each project listed under the building headings, board members placed colored stickers next to those they thought were priority.
Under the high school’s heading, safety upgrades were listed as a priority. Under the middle school heading, an updated camera system was given the heavy sticker treatment. At the intermediate school, cameras and mold remediation were neck and neck. At Parkside, building safety was emphasized, and at the primary school, safety updates for the main entrances were prioritized.
Under the listings of maintenance, transportation and activities, board members chose new heating and cooling systems, camera systems on buses and track resurfacing as priority projects.
Levy said the bond issue should take more shape tonight, but the two-hour work session helped catapult the effort forward in no small way.
“I think what we intended was a board work session, but it took the form of a town hall meeting because it allowed additional engagement from constituents that helped us, conveying what projects meant the most to them, and that’s critical to being successful,” he said.