Notus goes for third try at a school bond

The Notus School District will try for the third time in less than a year to persuade voters to pass a bond to replace their nearly 90-year-old elementary school.

The school, which houses about 200 students, has water-stained walls from rain, pipes that must be plugged with foam to keep sewage from backing up on the floors, and a heating system that costs $192 a day to operate during the school year, said Craig Woods, the district’s superintendent.

The new school would hold 300 children and be about 32,000 square feet.

Before going out for a third try, district leaders surveyed the community on what the district needed to do to win support.

In the past two bond elections, voters balked at the tax burden. The school would cost $4.8 million.

Voters also have questioned how the school will be placed on the land where the old one sits.

The district says its can build the new school for a $19.96 increase in property tax per $100,000 of taxable value. It now plans to reduce the amount it collects in a separate plant-maintenance levy. The total tax burden for the district now is $478 per $100,000 of taxable value. The new burden would be $498.

The district has invited nearby farmers to a lunch next week to go over the plan. “That is where I will have a really good indication of whether they like it or dislike it,” Woods said.

District officials have also decided to locate the new school across the street from its junior-senior high school and use the existing cafeteria building at the elementary site. An earlier plan would have required the district to build a new cafeteria for about $200,000. The savings will be put into the new school, Woods said.

The Notus district’s plan also allows room for development of a new playground for $20,000 to $30,000 that is part of the bond proposal.

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