Voters in the Middleton, Parma and Wilder school districts will be asked to approve bonds on Tuesday to help address school overcrowding and security problems, among other things.
After failing to reach the two-thirds supermajority required to pass bonds in the March election, each district is again bringing a bond measure to the ballot.
MIDDLETON SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Middleton School District is asking for $28.8 million to build a fourth elementary school, secure property for future developments, provide schools with new safety features and update Heights Elementary.
“We’re looking for space, we’re looking for security and we’re looking for equity,” Superintendent Josh Middleton said.
Should the bond pass, the district’s property tax levy rate is expected to decrease from $495 per $100,000 of taxable property value to $445 per $100,000. Middleton said that is due in part to growth, increased home values and increased overall taxable valuation in Middleton.
The district still has about $42 million of $51.9 million left to pay from a bond passed in 2008 to fund the construction of Middleton High School.
Middleton said the district is expecting to grow by 1,000 students in the next five years, from 4,000 students this year to 5,000 students by 2023, citing a 2017 demographic study by Davis Demographics.
The district has three elementary schools — Heights, Mill Creek and Purple Sage. Heights and Mill Creek are both over capacity.
The bond needs two-thirds approval to pass and would be paid back over 20 years. The previous bond fell 108 votes shy of what was needed to pass.
The majority of the bond — about $23 million — would fund construction of a new elementary school, expected to be built on 15 acres on Purple Sage Road. Construction wouldn't begin for another year, Middleton said.
About $1 million would go toward retrofitting security at all schools — the primary reason behind the bond increase. Security enhancements could include adding new cameras, buzz-in systems at access points and film for plate glass windows.
About $1.7 million would be dedicated to updating Heights Elementary, the oldest school in the district that is currently at 152 percent capacity with 601 students.
About $2.4 million would be set aside for the purchase of a future school site.
“We’re obviously a growing school district and would rather pay for land at these prices rather than five or 10 years down the line,” Middleton said.
PARMA SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Parma School District is again requesting $5 million to construct a new agricultural education building, expand Parma High School’s band room, replace the current football stadium bleachers and lighting and construct new middle school tennis courts, Superintendent Jim Norton said.
Around $2 million would go toward building the new agricultural building to offer students more “advanced” plant and animal science programs.
About $500,000 would be dedicated to expanding the high school band room due to overcrowding.
Replacement of the current stadium bleachers and upgrades to the field lighting is projected to cost around $1.5 million.
About $500,000 would go toward constructing new tennis courts.
If passed, Norton said the district’s property tax levy rate is projected to decrease from the current $575 per $100,000 taxable property value to $500 per $100,000 due to market value growth and the restructuring of other payments.
The bond needs two-thirds approval to pass and would be paid back over 20 years. The previous bond fell nine votes shy of what was needed to pass.
The district still has about $4.6 million left to pay from the two bonds passed in 2004 and 2009. The bond in 2004 will be paid back in two years and helped construct the new high school and remodel the elementary and middle schools. The 2009 bond will be paid back in seven years and was used to build the high school gymnasium and support the COSSA Regional Technical and Education Center.
WILDER SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Wilder School District is asking for a $5 million bond to build a structure to house both the district’s cafeteria and kitchen and a vocational agriculture program.
“Our cafeteria is packed,” Superintendent Jeff Dillon said.
This problem, Dillon said, stems from the fact that Wilder has a closed campus, meaning it does not allow students to leave campus during lunch.
“We have 90 percent of our students at the middle school and high school eating every day in the cafeteria,” Dillon said. “The cafeteria is an issue.”
Wilder School District enrollment has grown by more than 40 percent over the last five years. It had 368 students in 2012 and 530 students in 2017, Dillon said.
Because the cafeteria is in the basement of the gymnasium, Dillon said there is no room to grow.
The same structure will house classrooms and a workshop for the agricultural program that about 70 students are a part of each year. Dillon said the high school retrofitted the former family consumer science room to house the program.
“It’s very challenging,” Dillon said. “We’re not able to offer some of the students the things they need.”
Dillon said the total $5 million would go directly toward building the new structure.
If passed, the district’s property tax levy rate is projected to decrease from its current amount — $493 per $100,000 of taxable property value — due to increases in property values and population. Dillion said he did not have an exact number for the amount the tax levy rate would decrease.
The bond needs two-thirds approval to pass and would be paid back over 20 years.