Bond election set for Sept. 11

OPN Architects has released this site plan for a proposed new grade 5-8 building (in red) on the high school site. Not shown to the south of this rendering is the Monticello Athletic Complex (baseball diamonds), which would not be affected. There would, however, need to be a new location for the current softball fields. (Drawing submitted)
Plan calls for grade 5-8 building on high school site
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     It is official: There will be a bond issue election in Monticello on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

     Voters will be asked whether to approve the use of general obligation bonds, not to exceed $15 million, to build a grade 5-8 addition at the Monticello High School site.

     The Monticello School Board voted unanimously to approve election during a special meeting/work session Wednesday, May 9.

     If approved, citizens will see a tax increase based on the net taxable value of a property, after government rollback and homestead credit. A home with an assessed value of $100,000 would have a net taxable value of $50,771, which would result in an annual tax change of $139.62, or $11.63 per month.

     For agricultural land, based on the Jones County average assessed value of $2,059 per acre, the taxable value would be $1,121 per year, equating to $3.08 per acre per year or 26 cents per month.

     The School Facilities Committee, which has been meeting since July 2017, submitted a petition to the board at the meeting, demonstrating that 276 signatures had been obtained, far more than the required 102 (25 percent of those voting at the last election of school officials).

     Jeff Hinrichs of the Facilities Committee was on hand to praise both the board and the committee for their work in getting this to an election.

     Hinrichs compared the situation with the bond election from 2015, when voters were asked to approve a $22 million bond issue, and voted it down, 71.9 percent to 28.1 percent.

     Hinrichs said he received literature from three years ago, including a copy of the Monticello Express.

     “It had a ‘vote no’ ad and a ‘vote yes’ ad,” Hinrichs said. “And the vote no ad said, ‘What we really need to be successful, is a scaled-back version that’s economical and feasible.’

     “And I think we just did that. We saw every option. We recommend this moves forward, and I can’t wait.”

     OPN Architects was on hand to offer renderings of the grade 5-8 building that will attach to the high school if the bond issue is approved. The rendering showed the building directly south of the high school.

     The rendering originally left the high school softball fields intact, but a new rendering released Monday showed it without the softball fields, which would be located elsewhere.

In other board business

     • The board approved the appointment of Alec Garringer as high school band director. Garringer, a West Des Moines High School and Iowa State University graduate, replaces Michael Kowbel, who resigned to accept a band position in Iowa City.

     • The board approved the resignations of Jessica Hillers as high school English teacher, Darren Reade as high school English teacher and varsity girls track coach, and Mallory McDermott as high school special education child specific associate.

     • The board heard a report from Jaeger and Monticello City Administrator Doug Herman about a proposed 28E agreement between the Monticello Youth Baseball and Softball Association (MYBSA), the city and the school district.

     The agreement would simply make responsibilities of the MYBSA and city official, and be more than just a “handshake agreement.”

     • The board heard a report from Jaeger of “do’s and don’ts” regarding a school election.

     Jaeger said board members should not promote an issue either way, and that they should remember they are still board members when people ask them about the bond issue.

     “What you say should revolve around facts,” Jaeger said.

     School district staff members are permitted to be advocates either for or against an issue, but must be “off the clock” in order to do so.

     • The board heard a report from eighth-grade students Trista DeShaw, Faith Hansen and Mary Schmit about their recent field trip to Rockwell-Collins. Each of them demonstrated an experiment they learned.

     Students Josephine Von Ahsen and Natalia Williams also went on the trip, but were unable to attend the meeting.



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