School bond election is March 9

The trend of mail-in ballots continues with the Thayer Central Community Schools District March 9 bond election. Ballots were expected to mailed between Feb. 18 and Feb. 22. 

The school is asking voters for a $5,275,000 bond at an average of 1.5 percent interest over a 15-year period.

Proposed bond funds would be added to the special building fund of approximately $3.3 million for facility improvements.

In an attempt to reach as many voters as possible, the district first distributed 2,000 tri-fold brochures with all project expenses listed, including a $7 million to $7.2 million cost for construction; renovation; soft costs of $1.3 to $1.5 million; and the total project cost of $8.5 to $8.7 million.

Board of Education President, Rob Marsh said board members went to communities the district serves to distribute the brochures. 

We’ve been reaching out to people we know and we don’t know,” he said. Board members have made themselves available and the district used its website and social media to reach voters. 

The board felt it had to use other avenues since Covid-19 is an ongoing factor when it comes to gatherings, such as the community meetings voters attended for past projects. 

A question and answer forum on the district’s website gave visitors a chance to interact. 

Board members and Superintendent Randy Page met with smaller groups about the bond election, such as Rotary and the Hebron Coffee Talk crowd.

“The most important thing in our district is people have all the information they need,” Marsh said.   

The other side of the pandemic has seen construction companies become more competitive to help keep costs down for the district. 

For almost $9 million, the district will be targeting multiple projects that have been discussed for years.

This week, the board is releasing a rationale with five points on facility planning.

Board members stated in the rationale they believe special building funds should not sit idle and coupled with bond funds, the district would have the ability to address all identified needs. Construction would begin this spring and conclude in the summer of 2022 with minimal interruptions for students and staff.

Safety is the first priority in the master plan and eliminates the need for students to walk between buildings. A storm shelter and additional parking are also on the list as stated in the rationale:

“Higher security could be gained by connecting the elementary to the high school, moving the band room out of the north shop and limiting the amount of entrances for students and visitors. 

“Now modern disaster shelters could be added so that everyone in our high school and junior high school could be in the safest space possible in the worst case scenario. This space can also be for purposed locker rooms.   

“This plan also addresses the need for additional education space for Special education, Career Pathways and FFA. Performing arts, band and vocal will also have an area.”

The board elected to reduce the levy for the special building fund last fall by 11 cents for a savings of approximately $900,000. If voted in, the bond would create a potential levy of 75.3 cents for the combination of the general, special building and bond funds for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. In comparing levy numbers in the past five years, the levy could mean a potential increase of 4.9 cents from the 2020-2021 fiscal year, but in comparing levy numbers for the past five years, it is a potential decrease of 2.78 cents.   

For more information follow the link to Thayer Central Schools website: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1115310/bond_initative_2021.pdf