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What Passage of Ballot 4A Will Do for School District

 

 

The Lamar High School will be 50 years old in 2019 and the Lincoln School is a few years older. The needed upgrades for both schools were detailed during a community forum hosted by Friends of Lamar Schools and held at the LHS auditorium Tuesday evening, September 25th.

Kathleen La Cost

Kathleen LaCost outlined the elements of the BEST Grant that will be awarded to the Lamar Re-2 School District, contingent on passage of the mill levy question, 4A, appearing on the November ballot for district voters. “We’ll review the BEST Grant and needed local matching funds, the 2019 project that will be funded by the grant, an overview of how the 4A question pertains to residents and we’ll take any questions from the audience on those points,” she explained to the gathering.

Superintendent Tecklenburg

Schools Superintendent, David Tecklenburg, explained that the district needs to come up with matching funds to be awarded the majority of the funding from the BEST Grant from the state. The grant will provide 53% of the funding for improvements to the schools, $4,429,262.  The district needs to fund the balance of the project through the mill levy, $3,950,000, which will be paid down over 20 years, if not sooner through a General Obligation Bond.  Tecklenburg noted the levy increase will amount to $3.80 per $1,000 for assessed property at an increase of 0.00380 mills.  There are varying degrees of assessed property rates for residential, commercial and agriculturally owned land.  The district’s current bond debt is zero and has been since 2014 when the last debt levy was paid off for various improvements.

Weston Gouger, the Business Development Manager for WILLDAN engineers, said the project’s priorities will cover health issues within the two schools such as cleaner air and new HVAC systems as well as general school safety and security. New windows, doors, video systems, fire response system upgrades and a host of other areas will be covered in the project which amounts to $8,357,099.  He said the current video system is outdated with unreliable hardware and old software and there is inadequate camera coverage inside and outside the schools.  The Lamar High School alone is using an inefficient HVAC system to provide heat and air conditioning for about 100,000 square feet.

A question about the Lincoln School needs and student usage indicated that the HOPE students number about 170 per day through the week and because of the continued traffic and the Alternative School students taught there, Lincoln probably receives more daily use than the other schools in the district and is an older facility.

Tecklenburg said that if the ballot question fails in November, the district has few options. Lamar was awarded the BEST Grant based on a point priority system of needs and was in competition with other schools in the state for funding.  There is no guarantee that they would be awarded the same funding two years from now as they would have to compete against other district requests and the current equipment would be out of date by two additional years.

BEST Grants, Building Excellent Schools Today, have been awarded in the past for the construction of the Alta Vista Charter School and the Holly School.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationElectionsFeaturedPublic SafetySchool

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