Nearly 60 patrons from the Wayne Community School District were on hand at the Carroll City Auditorium to gather information on the upcoming bond election.
Ballots for the proposed $27,945,000 bond to allow for construction of a Pre-K through second grade facility and renovation of portions of the high school are being mailed out this week and should be returned by Tuesday, March 14. They need to be returned to the courthouse by 5 p.m. that day. There is a drop box on the north side of the courthouse that is checked several times each day.
County Clerk Deb Finn reported that a total of 3,346 ballots have been mailed out for the school bond election.
Monday's meeting began with a introduction by Board member Jaime Manz and a history of the process the board of education has gone through in the last four years.
Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan told those at the meeting the board had started a master plan in 2019 and that plan was put on hold when COVID-19 closed the school.
He also shared information on recent enrollment numbers within the school system. The district has seen a steady increase in numbers, including 66 news students since the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
"The elementary building is full. I encourage everyone to tour the building during the day when students are in the building," Dr. Lenihan said.
Bob Soukup with Carlson West Povondra Architects told the group that a community group, made up of people from throughout the district, started with a list of "wants" and dialed it back to what was more realistic with the district's finances.
He said that the committee determined that "it made a lot of sense" to put the Pre-K through second grade facility west of the Community Activity Center.
He also said that at the high school, adding additional classrooms on the both the upper and lower level on the east side of the building would allow for the three science rooms to be in the same location.
"I feel the committee has found a good balance to take the district into the next generation," Soukup said.
Representatives from Hausmann Construction, the Construction Manager at Risk selected for the project, told the attendees that the firm has worked to come up with a guaranteed maximum cost for the project. All costs, including those of furnishing the new classrooms, has been included in the bond request.
Jay Spearman with Piper Sandler spoke to the group on the financial impact of the project.
He told the audience that for the purpose of voter-approved bond payments, ag land is taxable at 50% of its value. He listed the tax liability on various property valuations.
Current projects call for a 12.9 cent levy per $100 of valuation for the duration of bond. This would result in a $129 increase for a home valued at $100,000.
He also said that as valuations increase, the levy would decrease as the district can only collect a set amount.
Spearman also shared a timeline for when bonds would be issued and when the levied amount would be collected.
Questions from the audience included concerns on the location of the Pre-K through second grade facility and water drainage in the area, the design of that building as it is not straight, and traffic flow and parking for the new building.
In addition, staffing was discussed.
Dr. Lenihan said no new administrators would be needed and some shifting in office duties is anticipated. It is anticipated that the district would need to hire 1.5 FTE additional janitorial staff and part-time cooks to help serve meals.
Questions from the audience also involved other locations for the Pre-K through second grade facility, including the site of the former elementary school and directly south of the junior-senior high school.
The community group had explored those possibilities and said there were concerns with congestion and the fact that a city street now runs through the area north of the former building site.
It was again noted that if the bond is not approved by the voters, the school would have to put in modular buildings to accommodate the students.
Discussion was held on changes that have taken place in the education of students since the passage of the last bond in 2000.
Presenters all expressed the fact that "we are trying to be efficient with the resources we have and hope this project gets us through the next generation."
Anyone with additional questions regarding the project and the bond is encouraged to contact Dr. Lenihan at (402) 375-3150 or by email at email@example.com.
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