KSD to re-run bond after just missing

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Kellogg School District superintendent Nancy Larsen explains some of the Kellogg Bond Committee’s pros and cons to district trustees Art Krulitz and Carolyn Turner during its special bond workshop. Photo by JOSH MCDONALD

KELLOGG — The Kellogg School District has announced that it will be re-running its $7.9 million Facilities Maintenance Bond this August after narrowly missing the super majority vote that is required for such initiatives.

Following the failure of the bond during the May election cycle, the Kellogg School District Bond Committee went back to the drawing board to see where it could make up ground on the 120 votes that were needed to get the bond passed.

After weighing multiple options, including running the bond in November of this year, March of next year or two different options in August, the group decided that it would seek the school board’s approval to run the bond again with no changes to it in August in hopes of getting the 66 and 2/3 percent PLUS ONE vote necessary to pass it.

After hearing the Bond Committee’s reasoning during a special workshop, the board made its decision during the meeting.

Unlike levies, such as the current maintenance and operations levy that the district runs every two years to fill in the gaps in funding sent from the state to pay for salaries, programs and simple maintenance on buildings, this bond is designed to support improvements to every building throughout the district.

Bond Committee member Tina Karst was nearly in tears as she addressed the board.

“We can’t lose our momentum,” Karst said. “I love our school district. Our district needs this, our schools need this, our students need this.”

The Bond Committee spoke candidly to the board about its strategy, mainly the idea of not worrying so much about voters who refused to hear them out, but to instead try and get more people out to vote in hopes that more people simply head to the polls to support the district.

“I can think of at least 10 people I have talked to who didn’t vote, because they either forgot or they thought it would pass easily,” Karst said. "These are the people we need to reach out to and make sure that they get out and vote."

Costing taxpayers exactly $53 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value (after exemptions), the bond is to go toward many different maintenance and building issues across the district.

Improvements at each building include, but aren’t limited to the following:

Pinehurst Elementary: outdated water lines; safety at the front entrance and throughout the building; kitchen and cafeteria updates and enlargement to accommodate large population; and, new construction for special populations.

Canyon Elementary: Updated windows; installing emergency exits for classrooms; heating system update; roofing; and ADA compliance.

Kellogg Middle School: Adding locker rooms; HVAC units; and safety additions throughout.

Kellogg High School: Roof replacements; safety at the front entrance and throughout the building; HVAC; ventilation; cafeteria; and floor coverings.

KSD Administrative Annex (former middle school/community center): HVAC systems; ADA compliance; water lines; and safety improvements.

The Bond Committee plans on doing some more extensive community outreach to help folks better understand the dollar amounts of the projects, where they’re failing, and how those numbers were determined.

“We decided to pursue not changing the dollar amount because it shows transparency,” one Bond Committee member said. “We knew that changing numbers makes it look like we were trying to get more than what we needed out of this, but that isn’t the case, we need every single dollar of this bond just to catch up.”

The school district will now need to file its intentions to re-run the bond with its bond attorney by July 5, to make sure it can be voted on Aug. 27.

Anyone with any questions about the bond should reach out to the Kellogg School District superintendent Dr. Nancy Larsen at 208-784-1348.

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