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Board mulls bond issue for new STC Middle School, PPEL vote

No Decision Made

September 6, 2019
By John Speer - Editor (jspeer@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Whether to put up a bond issue proposal for up to $20 million to pay a new South Tama school building along with other school improvements and should they call for another vote on a physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) Those questions were before the South Tama School Board in a work session held after a special meeting on Tuesday evening, Sept. 3.

Board members Penny Tyynissmaa, Mandy Lekin, Jackie Dvorak and Ron Houghton were present for the discussion with member Alan Kline taking part by telephone from New York.

Some of the talk revolved around the tax consequences with a proposed reduction in school operations cost possibly off-setting the plant levy expense to taxpayers.

Article Photos

South Tama Middle School in Toledo.
-Chronicle / News-Herald file

A facilities study committee made up of up to 45 community members is looking toward replacement of the South Tama Middle School in Toledo it was learned. Their work comes following an in-depth report on the districts buildings presented by Estes Construction in April.

On Tuesday the school board weighed the strength of putting both the bonds and PPEL or just one of the issues on the upcoming joint school-city November 5 ballot. An alternative considered was to wait on one or both until March, 2020, with a plan to hold a special election at that time.

The last day a bond issue or public measure may be added for the November election is Sept. 24 Tama County Auditor- Commissioner of Elections Laura Kopsa told The News-Herald.

Superintendent Jared Smith said he polled the facilities study committee and received 30 responses. He said the results were: PPEL vote on November ballot- 30%; bond issue and PPEL in March, 2020- 53%; other ideas- 17%.

There was no decision from the school board on what route to take with discussions expected to continue at future board meetings.

Replacement of the middle school in Toledo with a new building on the campus area of the high and elementary schools in Tama was most mentioned as the choice for the bond issue. Mention of building a new high school and using the current building as a middle school as well as building a new middle school in Toledo were also mentioned.

Board member Mandy Lekin cautioned farmers were not experiencing a good financial picture currently and consideration of their circumstances should also be a part of a board decision.

Members Penny Tyynismaa and Lekin discounted the idea of a new high school saying they believed the bond amount would not be sufficient.

The Estes Constriction evaluation of the buildings was called a "planning tool" when they were put before the board in April by Mike Carroll, project executive for Estes Construction. The rundown of the assessments included the overall high figure for everything needed - $25,429,036 to a low estimated cos of $14,240,830.

Of these figures a total of improvements classed as urgent ranged with a price tag totaling $1,720,080 on the low end to $2,484,249 on the high side. Next are required improvements- $7,993,159 - $12,909,144, many of which involve aspects of health and safety according to the report.

A breakdown of the categories as presented in the Estes report:

Total cost by facility in low to high range- Partnership Center- $3,997 - $6,439,965; Middle School- $5,599,910 - $9,277,629; Elementary School- $1,655,355 - $3,460,834; High School- $3,195 - $5,270,358; Concessions-Weight Room- $68,162 - $101,489; Four Seasons Building- $38,027 - $54,067; and Athletic Fields- $686,431 - $824,694.

Some of the health and safety and urgent or required issues at various locations include asbestos removal, Americans With Disabilities Act compliant restrooms and interior and exterior business access and replacement of fire detection equipment.

Facility Study Committee

Included on the facility study committee are Ben Adams, Brian Sokol, Gloria Fonseca, Jo Cherveny, Julie Rathjen, Mark McFate, Marty Hardon, Mike Haughey, Mike Wedmore, Michelle Werner, Roger Gilbreaith, Stephanie Babinat, Scott Bolen, Steve McAdoo, Sue Carnahan, Travis Squires, Travis Smith, Vanessa Rivera, Josh Youngbear, Lindsay Schumacher, Ron Houghton, Dan Anderson, Brent Bagnall, Eric Rosario, George Kuhter, Jackie Dvorak, John Lloyd, Keely Upah, Larry Fletcher, Matt Zmolek, Mike Carnahan, Nathan Doran, Nathan Van Dyke, Elizabeth Dolezal, Penny Tyynismaa, Roy Frakes, Steve Bearden, Steve Kenkel, Tyler Lasley, Jared Smith and Mike Carroll.

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