KELLOGG –– In March of this year the Kellogg School District board of trustees announced their intentions to seek the passing of a $7.9 million special general obligation bond in the upcoming election.
Kellogg School District superintendent Dr. Nancy Larsen explained how the board came to their decision.
“This current bond election is for a 12 year facilities bond to improve safety, update infrastructure, and replace worn out items,” Larsen said. “Items to include in the bond were a result of patrons who made up our Facilities Planning Committee who worked for a period of 7-weeks to tour buildings and examine each one in depth. These patrons then met to prioritize needs and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Committee then provided input to the board in making a decision about the term and total amount for the bond. The board chose the term for 12 years and the amount as $7.9 Million.”
Unlike levies, such as the current maintenance and operations levy that the district runs every two years to fill in the gaps in funding sent from the state to pay for salaries, programs, and simple maintenance on buildings, this bond will support improvements to every building throughout the district.
“Our newest building, the current Kellogg Middle School, is now 20 years old and needs a few updates, but the most significant update is adding locker rooms and storage for the gymnasium,” Larsen said. “The other schools were built in the 1950’s and safety updates are mandatory for today’s environment. They each have major infrastructure needs due to age. The former Middle School is vital to our district and being used on a daily basis. Although future use is to be determined it requires safety updates and infrastructure fixes, as well. This bond is crucial to our district to save our buildings as time causes them to deteriorate. Nothing included is frivolous and many items are critical at this time. The responsible path is to preserve them as best we can to prepare for the future.”
Improvements at each building include, but aren’t limited to the following:
Pinehurst Elementary: outdated water lines; safety at the front entrance and throughout the building; kitchen and cafeteria updates and enlargement to accommodate large population; and, new construction for special populations.
Canyon Elementary: Updated windows; installing emergency exits for classrooms; heating system update; roofing; and, ADA compliance.
Kellogg Middle School: Adding locker rooms; HVAC units; and, safety additions throughout.
Kellogg High School: Roof replacements; safety at the front entrance and throughout the building; HVAC; ventilation; cafeteria; and, floor coverings.
KSD Administrative Annex (former Middle School/community center): HVAC systems; ADA compliance; water lines; and, safety improvements.
One of the main questions that is asked by Kellogg School District patrons is usually one of the key factors when it comes to passing any sort of financial measure.
How much is it going to cost the taxpayers?
“The bond will increase taxes; however, we have done our best to assure that the difference is minimal. An approximate amount is $53 per year for 12 years,” Larsen said. “That amount is different for every person because the value of one’s home determines the tax assessment. Here’s an example: After value of a home is determined by the county assessor then possible exemptions are applied. The homeowner’s exemption and possible circuit breaker are deducted. If that leaves a value of exactly $100,000, then the taxes on that homeowner would be $53 a year, or roughly $1 a week. That amount will increase or decrease based upon each home’s assessed value.”
It is Larsen’s plea, as well as the plea of the school board that this bond be passed and they cited many factors, such as aging facilities, school security, and an overall sense of community as to why this bond is a must-pass for them.
“Because state and federal funds have decreased over the last several years, our facilities have received few updates or improvements,” Larsen said. “This lack of improvement has placed some issues in our buildings at critical stages. The amount of the bond only includes items to improve safety, changes that will increase the life of the existing buildings, or replace worn out items. Everything included in the bond is of great need, not just nice to have. Kellogg School District’s students are no different from students in other districts. They deserve to feel safe in an environment that provides for their needs and enhances the educational performance of each building. A school building is crucial to a community—especially in a small community. The buildings are used for many events beyond the usual daily instruction. They represent the pride and hope that a community has in their youth. Our kids deserve this pride and hope to help them succeed. Our staff will greatly appreciate this support and will continue to work each day to provide the best environment possible.”
Election Day is May 21, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and, as per Idaho law, the bond must pass with a supermajority 2/3s vote instead of a simple majority.