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Clarke Community Schools seeks community support for bond issue

A vote for the bond issue for Clarke Community Schools as well as PPEL, will be held 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aprril 3 at each district's regular polling places.

PPEL, Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, is regularly on the ballet every 10 years and is separate from the bond issue. Money from PPEL goes to new bus purchases and technology leases.

"PPEL is voted on every 10 years so we can continue to have that money available to us. So it's separate, it's just something every 10 years that has to go on the ballet," said Alisha Kale, Clarke Community School board Steering Committee head.

The bond issue has been spearheaded by the steering committee. This committee is also taking on the task of informing the community about the bond issue.

"Our [steering committee's] plan is to get this information out so people can make the best decision they feel for their families," said Kale.

The last bond issue for Clarke Community School District was 20 years ago. That money went toward the auditorium and wrestling room remodel in the high school. The district was able to pay that bond issue off early.

Now the board would like the community to support another 20-year bond. No taxes would be raised.

"It'll be a wash," said Superintendent Steve Seid. "There will be no difference from what they've [taxpayers] experienced for the last almost 20 years."

The project will include updated restroom and locker rooms, more classrooms, filling in the courtyard space and providing separate entrances at the high/middle school. Sixth grade will be moved over to the middle school to relieve congestion in the elementary. A new bus barn will be constructed off school grounds.

"Typical middle school configuration are using a grade six through eight format. This will be addressed in the bond. This bond issue, found at www.bondissue.org/Clarke, will be moving the sixth grade classrooms to the middle school. Therefore, allowing for valuable elementary classroom space, secured entrances, accessible restrooms and accessible spaces within the elementary campus," said Kale.

"We've been working with the city on location options for the bus barn. Ty Wheeler and Thomas Kedley have been really good about giving us some ideas. So, we have some stuff on the radar but nothing has been solidified at this point," said Seid.

The bond issue totals $13 million.

"I don't know where else we'd get $13 million," said Kale. "That's a lot of pop cans."

There are portions of the plans that are not included in the bond that the district will be paying for itself. The construction of a new road to the high/middle school is part of the plan but not included in the bond issue. The road would relieve traffic congestion around the school as well as additional safety for pedestrians, students and staff.

"There are things that won't be included in the bond, that way the tax rate won't go up," said Seid.

If the vote passes, work will begin in 2019.

"We need to be able to provide quality education to all students," said Kale.

"If the vote doesn't pass, our schools will continue to be overcrowded. It should be a concern to everybody involved the type of quality education we would be able to provide," said Seid. "We would still educate to the highest level, but it becomes more difficult."

"I am a parent for vote yes on April 3's Bond issue for Clarke Schools," said Kale "This bond will not raise our taxes and will provide the necessary needs of our changing world, our students' needs and our staff needs to ensure every child is able to succeed."

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