Voters to decide fate of $107M St. Joseph school bond issue today


American Family Insurance Regional Headquarters / photo by Brent Martin


St. Joseph Post

St. Joseph School District voters today decide the fate of a $ 107 prize
Million-dollar bond issue that would drastically change the composition of the school

St. Joseph School superintendent Doug Van Zyl says the money
will allow the district to purchase the American family insurance building and
convert it into a new high school and upgrade other buildings.
Van Zyl says the passage would allow the district to divert money from buildings
to academics.

“How can we continue to gain and maintain high quality?
Teacher? “Asks Van Zyl during a guest on the KFEQ hotline.” Because I never will
Say the building makes all the difference in education. It’s the quality
of the person you can put in front of our students every day. “

This is a big decision for voters.

If approved, so would the American family building
second high school along with Central High School. Benton High School and
Lafayette High School would be converted into middle schools. Other schools
would undergo upgrades, like air conditioning, which Van Zyl says does for one
better environment for teachers.

“It’s not always about payment,” says Van Zyl. “It’s also about how
Do i feel i’m going to my school? Do I have the feeling that it is 90 degrees here or do I have the feeling?
Do you feel like it is a comfortable temperature for me to work in? Those
may be small nuances, but I think this also sends a message to our staff
and our students about how these things are done; when we try to make decisions
We believe you will benefit from it. “

An opposition group has emerged.

We, the People 3 Schools, reject the bond issue and as
Name suggests supports the three high school model.

A member of the group, Chris Prudden, tells the school board
don’t listen to people.

“But what you don’t understand is that it’s not what they are
Community wants. This is what your board members want, ”says Prudden during his
Visit the KFEQ hotline.

Prudden criticizes the school board for earlier actions.

“You haven’t spent the money properly in the past,” said Prudden
Expectations. “These boundaries are not what people want, they are not
Split it up and now they change it to make it worse if they have it
the two-school thing. The schools are next to each other. The city is divided. “

The school board chose the two high schools model. Then,
American family became a possibility.

Van Zyl says turning the American family campus into a high
School makes a lot of sense.

“There is no perfect plan, but I think I have
structure there and have a group like American Family that is ready to have
This conversation with us I think is a blessing as we struggled
to try to find places that are likely to contain what we are looking for, ”Van said
Says Cyl.

Even the contractor chosen by the school board to do the
The American family campus in a high school is criticized by We the

Prudden says the board shouldn’t have hired McCown Gordon from
Consult Kansas City on conversion.

“If you really want to save money on these schools, we could
Probably start out by hiring local contractors rather than large, giant companies
Kansas City, ”said Prudden. “There are a lot of large contractors
It’s much cheaper and probably just as efficient in our region. Once again,
You don’t support our community and the community sees that. “

A school board says no local contractors have shown up

It will take more than a simple majority to issue the bond
consist. The issue must receive a 57.1% vote. If voters approve the bond issue, property
Taxes increase by $ 4.63 per month or $ 55.56 per year for every $ 100,000
rated rating.



Robert Dunfee