RIVERSIDE — While Highland School Assistant Superintendent Mike Jorgensen was having his taxes done, he found what he believes is a great way to get information out regarding the coming bond referendum in the Highland district.
During a special work session Monday evening, Jorgensen gave each school board member a copy of an information packet being distributed in the Perry School District regarding a coming bond referendum. The packet included basic information on the projects the school hopes to complete, the background of the need for the projects and a sample ballot. He explained while he was visiting his certified public accountant in Perry, the packet was being distributed. He commented that he had taught in Perry for nine years before he became an administrator.
“While I was waiting for my appointment, these were sitting on the table next to me,” Jorgensen said. “I thought they looked really sharp. As a district we can give out information, so we can do something very similar, as long as we don’t tell people to vote ’yes’ on the bond issue.”
Superintendent Ken Crawford said the exact numbers for the bond issue should be presented at the board’s March meeting. Petitions for the issue will be circulated in April for an August vote. He also hopes a committee from the public can be formed to promote passage of the issue. Jorgensen said the district can have informational meetings and walk-throughs of the school, but has to be careful only information is given and the district isn’t trying to persuade people to vote for the issue. Jorgensen said between the music boosters and the Elementary Support Organization some groups would be active and supportive.
Jorgensen plans to create a similar information packet for the Highland district’s coming bond issue. He hopes to have them out sometime in June.
The goal of the issue is to replace multiple environmental control systems in the Highland building with one Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. There are now eight different units controlling the climate of the building. The HVAC system would cost about $2.2 million. The bond would also be used to resurface the school’s playground surface and make improvements to the school’s fine arts area. While the amounts for the renovations aren’t solid yet, Crawford believes the amount being bonded for would be about $3 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. He also said the tax rates in the district have dropped about $3 in the past few years and that tax rates are projected to go down again, so taxpayers would see no increase as a result of the bond. The bond would also raise $15,000 to construct a greenhouse for the district.
Also during the meeting, board members commented that people in the community did not seem to realize there was even going to be a bond issue. The issue will be on the Aug. 5 ballot, pending the confirmation of the petitions.