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Building Project

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importuser

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Building Project

By importuser at 12/5/2001 1:46 PM

Posted by:Tmom
Did I hear that the school district received some type of construction grant? Has any progress be made in the plans?



If they are able to close down the old Union Douglas building (currently the Intermediate school), what will become of that building?
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 12/10/2001 11:55 PM

Posted by:MattDickinson
I think the story in last weeks Journal Pilot pretty much covers this, but in a nutshell: The school district has almost finalized plans with the state to receive a matching funds grant for new building projects. One of these is the band room expansion currently being built at the high school. Another is paying off the primary building loan faster. A third is major upgrading of the middle school building (bathrooms, lower ceilings, and others come to mind).



The fourth, and by far largest, plan is for a new high school. There are no details at this point, but the school district does seem to be in favor of working with other community groups to share resources anywhere it makes sense. One area is to share PE facilities with a new and expanded YMCA (the current facility is over-used and we are about to pop at the seams!). Also, there is talk of a library that can be for both the school students AND for the general public, thus solving the current space problem at the Carthage library.



So basically, it will cost the school district somewhere in the 9 to 13 million dollar range to do all this. HOWEVER, the state "grant" that they will get will cover up to 6.6 million, so we'd be getting a LOT of construction for about half price. Not a bad deal. However, there will have to be voter approval of this on the March ballot, and that means a tax increase. This should be a "no brainer YES vote" but you never know when it comes to tax increases.



Hopefully everyone will see the great opportunities such projects will offer our kids, and over the long run the money it will save the school district. Look for lots more information and discussion about this in the weeks to come, and then vote in March!
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 2/11/2002 9:40 AM

Posted by:carsnfrd
Concerning the issue of the new school building referendum, I feel that the citizens of the district should attempt to "get free of their baggage" concerning the school administrator, the school board,the teachers, the coach's, previous referendums, or whatever that might cloud their ability to make a rational decision and focus on the ISSUE.---------Is there a need in our district for new construcion to better serve our children and is this a cost efficient means of providing it?---------- If the answer to this issue is YES than that is how one should vote. Remember--This administration, this board, the current teaching staff, the coach's or whatever the scandal de'jour is will change---but our duty to do our very best as a community to educate our children will remain FOREVER!
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/15/2002 10:34 AM

Posted by:carsnfrd
hopefully we will see a lot of dialogue here the next couple of days. Here's a thought starter. A homeowner in Carthage with a $100000 home {$33333 assessement} would pay approximately $250 more per year in school tax. $250 x 20 years = $5000. Now go ask a realtor what a home in Carthage is worth and what a comparable home in Dallas City would bring. I think you will find that $5000 saves exponentially and we get a new school to boot!

[ This Message was edited by: carsnfrd on 2002-03-15 10:40 ]
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/15/2002 2:59 PM

Posted by:carsnfrd
Just had a friend voice to me the concern that they didn't want this to turn into another pool project. Nothing is etched in stone on how the money willbe spent---just that it is for a high school and improvements to the existing facilities. It is up to us as a community to mold this building into whatever we want. If we don't get involved we don't have the right to complain

[ This Message was edited by: carsnfrd on 2002-03-15 15:05 ]
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/16/2002 7:15 AM

Posted by:carsnfrd
Are uyou going to be out of town tuesday or are your kids home for the weekend from college? You can go to the courthoue and vote absentee--today--Saturday March 16th. Your vote does count.

[ This Message was edited by: carsnfrd on 2002-03-16 07:17 ]
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:27 AM

Posted by:MattDickinson
Poor complaint #1: But that's going to add $250 to my tax bill!

This was from a person living in town, with a $100,000 house. The tax bill now is $2500 roughly, so the extra $250 is only 10%, and it's only for 19 or 20 years (don't believe the "paying for the rest of your life" complaint, these are 20-year maximum bonds!). Now, if this person were community minded instead of watch-out-for-myself minded, she may want to consider investing in these bonds! If (these are big if's since the rates won't be known for sure until the bonds are let) she buys $10,000 of these bonds to help the school out, they will make an annual return of $400 (assuming 4%, who knows for sure), more than covering her taxes. Sure, not everyone can do this, but it is a way to help offset the increase in property tax, AND it helps keep more of the bond money right here in the area, thus doing more good than just for the schools.



[ This Message was edited by: MattDickinson on 2002-03-17 01:27 ]
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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:28 AM

Posted by:MattDickinson
Poor complaint #2: No way, the farmers are always getting penalized for school funding.

There is no doubt that the current farm economy has been rough, but so far all of our farmers have weathered it. 55% of our district's EAV (Equalized Assessed Evaluation) is farm land, so it's obviously an important part of our economy (and of the school's funding). However, there is some relief coming, from what I understand. Bear with me here for some numbers: The bonding expert told us yesterday that the district's EAV historically increases 5-6% a year, due to the raise in property value in the area. Last year, it only went up about .62%. This isn't because property started falling in assessment. It's because of a new state law that is changing the proportion of farm land funding for property tax. I'm trying to get details, but it sounds like this year, the farm land tax bill could drop up to 10%. AND it can do the same thing for the next two years! It sounded like there was a maximum of 10% for each of 3 years, but even if it dropped half of that, farm land would see a 15% relief in taxes within two more years. Maybe that 75 cents per $100 isn't such a big hit overall afterall...

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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:30 AM

Posted by:MattDickinson
Poor Complaint #3: 75 cents per hundred? That's pretty high, isn't it?

That's the number the school board has been circulating, because they did NOT want to come back and ask for more if they found out the poorly estimated. The fact is, this is based on absolutely no EAV growth for the first 3 years (due to the reduction in money from farm land), and only a 1% growth for the rest of the 19/20 year bond period. Historically, we've grown 5 to 6%, so this is very conservative (for those that don't understand how all this works, the school "levies" a certain amount of money, and that's what the district is taxed for. If property values increase, then the RATE of taxation is actually lowered to get the same amount of money.) So, if we follow the historical trend, your school tax rate will likely increase much less over the years than they are saying, or perhaps the bonds will be paid off sooner. Either way, the estimates are very conservative, and you can bet that the tax "hit" won't be as bad as projected.

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Re: Building Project

By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:31 AM

Posted by:MattDickinson
Poor Complaint #4: Why build it now, let's wait and see what we really need.

This is a good, thoughtful comment. There is lots of talk of consolidation in the future. What if we did combine with Hamilton, or N-C/DC, or Warsaw for example? THEN if we need a new school, they'd have to share in the cost. That's true, but there's a couple important points you are missing with these statements:

  • There's no way the other district would allow Carthage to build a new school that they are helping to pay for in Carthage. It would most likely be built out in the county somewhere between Carthage and the other district's major town. That means not only loosing the community benefit of a school in town (if you don't think high schooler's contribute to the local economy, visit DQ or Hardee's over lunch time!), but it also means building a COMPLETE facility, not just a building (now: building and parking lot. then: building, parking lot, baseball fields, football field, stands, lighting, bus storage, concession stands, etc.). The cost of the "complete" facility would be much higher.

  • But that's ok, the other district is splitting the cost with us? OK... think about that... So we'd be getting a high school at roughly half price, wow! That sounds like a REALLY good deal, doesn't it... Hellooooooooo? That's what we're getting NOW. And it's OURS, and it's IN TOWN.

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    Re: Building Project

    By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:32 AM

    Posted by:MattDickinson
    Poor Complaint #5: I don't trust the school board, they'll go ahead and raise taxes if we approve it, then the state won't come through and we'll have nothing

    Well first off, it's sad that the public doesn't trust their own elected officials. IF that's the case, then put someone else in their place if you feel that way. The new school will undoubtedly out-last teachers, school board members, and administrators. It's a vote for the future, not for now. Secondly, what this complaint is projecting just can NOT happen. The referendum question is very specific: The money has to be used for exactly what it says (I'm concentrating on the high school, but there are 3 or 4 other, very small parts to it as well). If the state doesn't come through with a grant, then the school will not be able to build a new building, so they won't be allowed, by law, to issue the bonds for a new school. Also, every member of the school board signed a letter stating that they would honor their committment to not raise taxes until the state money was there and the project could proceed. Do you think they'll personally risk law suits for going against something they promised in writing?

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    Re: Building Project

    By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:33 AM

    Posted by:MattDickinson
    Poor Complaint #6: Why go to the trouble of passing this referendum, the state doesn't have any money anyway, it's all a waste of time

    There's a lot of mis-conception here. Yes, there are major funding issues at the state level this year as we already know. However, they are with the "General Fund" and NOT (according to the Capital Development Board representative) with the "Capital Fund". She couldn't judge what the legislature will do, but she did give these facts: In the last four years, the CDB never has funds by this time of the year. They are all allocated. By the end of the budget process (this year about May 15) they've always been allocated from 1.0 to 1.1 BILLION dollars (yes, that's with a B). We are number 101 on a list of 188 approved school districts in line for funding. There are 65 school referendums Tuesday, so some of the districts ahead of us will drop off if their issue isn't passed (aren't we glad they aren't as progressive as us?!?!). In the last four years, EVERY qualified school that has passed a referendum has received their grant that year, except one. That particular school had to wait until the very next year. Last year, the state modified the law, and if you miss it this year, you have to be moved to the top of the list for the next year, so that is the absolutely worse thing that could happen. BUT! We have to pass our referendum first.



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    Re: Building Project

    By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:34 AM

    Posted by:MattDickinson
    Poor Complaint #7: My kids aren't in school any more, so I don't care

    OK, so not everyone has a community-minded outlook on life, I can accept that. However, if you want to think greedy, think this: The cooperative possibilities that exist with this project are enormous! No, they aren't well-defined, yet, but there's plenty of time (do you realize the school has 5 years to spend the grant money if we approve it? That's plenty of time for the planning to be done right, even for those of you who seem to think we need a different school board/administration to do it!). Done right, the library (which is also a taxing district, and may have to get some tax help to build the new library they so deserately need), the park district (granted, they only tax within the Carthage city limits, but their growth benefits all in the district), and the Y (they and their members would love to expand the facilities and possibilities right here in Carthage and they have enough members now to march on their own, without Keokuk issues) could build/lease buildings with the school. We could end up with a school that has the best physical education facilities (during the day, and the best Y facilities off-school hours), the best library (community entrance and a school entrance, shared restrooms, lower cost compared to two separate buildings), and the best outdoor facilities (practice fields, baseball diamonds, soccer fields shared with existing park board) of any school in the region (no, not just in the county, I said in the region!). Again, the possibilies are exciting! I haven't even touched on the domino effect of all this: Just think of the people moving to the area to work for Methode: Now the high-level managers may consider the wonderful school and settle here instead of in Quincy and Macomb. Now the housing boom will really take off (we have 3 new sub-divisions waiting to explode as soon as the near-term economy improves). More houses, more people. Guess what? Your tax bite goes down again. More houses, more people. Guess what? More businesses (especially with a new retail/industrial area at the East edge of town when the new road is done). More houses, more people. Guess what? A better all-around economy for Carthage as a whole. That means for everyone, whether you have kids there or not.

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    Re: Building Project

    By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:35 AM

    Posted by:MattDickinson
    Poor Complaint #8: The current school was big enough for me, and we had half again as many students in my class!

    Yeah, but if you want high school kids to be competitive in this day and age, you can't stick them in classes with 30 students in them. You have to offer a wider-variety of class types and to do a good job of teaching them, you will end up with lower counts in each class. That takes room. The current high school is not in need of emergency growth, but it's getting close. This year, one teacher's been using the medical closet as an office most of the time (until the band room is done). That's cutting it pretty close. As soon as N/C took in the Dallas City kids this year, they were able to offer some really good (standard in the big schools!) class options. The more the students can specialize (not forgetting, of course, the major needs of the core classes), the better prepared they will be in the real world (from engineering to ag, from cosmetology to accounting, from on-the-farm to in-the-city). It's just a simple fact: The world has advanced so far that students have to specialize earlier in the system than we had to. Sorry folks, the world is changing. Don't cheat the kids, they need all the help from us we can give them!
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    Re: Building Project

    By importuser at 3/17/2002 1:35 AM

    Posted by:MattDickinson
    Poor Complaint #9: There's nothing wrong with UD, why move everything in to town?

    Sorry, but there are a few things wrong, long term, with UD. Some of them are related to increased maintenance costs (it's not that old, but it's getting there). Some concerns are safety related for our young kids: So much glass in "tornado alley", so close to the four-lane highway coming through. These aren't much of a threat, but they represent horrible possibilities. The main concerns, however, center around our children's education. A full hour of education time is spent, every school day, in transportation. So, where the rest of the kids get an 8-bell day, UD kids get 7 periods. The school board has been working for years trying to solve this problem, and they decided years ago that it was best for the kids to get to town. And as I remember, the teachers didn't used to have much problem with consolidating students to town. It sure makes economic sense. Like I said, teachers and administrators will change over the years. Distance issues won't.

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