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Kila Voters to Decide on $2.1 Million School Bond
School Bond
Where other school districts see an inopportune time to run bonds, convinced voters feeling the pinch of economic downturn will turn them down, Kila School District sees opportunity.

“We realize times are difficult, but in terms of construction costs, it’s the best time to be building,” Superintendent Renee Boisseau said. “We’re going to get more bang for our buck now than we would’ve two years ago.”

She adds:“And our need is right now. Not two years down the road – it’s now.”

Kila School is running out of room. Enrollment there has grown 25 percent over the last decade to 152 students in grades K-8. With 25 students, the school’s kindergarten class is over the state limit for single-class size, but there isn’t a free room to split the class.

Facilities like the computer lab and library are cramped and dated. The kitchen prepares 300 meals a day and has to keep frozen and refrigerated goods in a lean-to outside or in the gym. The gym is used for physical education classes, a cafeteria, latchkey student programs and recess space during inclement weather.

School officials say it’s time for a change.

The district is asking voters to approve a $2.1 million bond for an 11,423-square-foot expansion and remodel project.

Ballots were mailed out to the district’s approximately 1,000 voters last week. They are due back at school June 2. A simple majority will decide the issue, and there are no minimum voter turnout requirements.

If approved, the bond would increase annual taxes by about $181 on a home with a taxable market value of $99,000. A home with a taxable market value of $198,000 would see its taxes increase by about $363.

Or as Boisseau puts it: “If you could put a dollar a day away in a jar for Kila School most of our taxpayers would have their taxes paid off by the end of the year.”

“It’s less than the cost of a latte, a DVD or a six-pack of pop a day for the future,” she added.

The proposed expansion includes two new classrooms, a science lab, a new library, a new kitchen and a multipurpose room, which would be used as a cafeteria and for drama and music classes, after-school programs and more. Plans also call for an expanded parking lot.

“We’re asking for a very bare bones project,” Boisseau said. “It’s not the Taj Mahal.”

The $2.1 million bond amount would cover the full project, including design work, construction and furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

Response from the community has been mixed, Boisseau said, with opponents tending to focus on the increased taxes. One person asked what the school’s “plan B” was if the bond failed. “I told him this is plan B,” Boisseau said.

The school district floated building reserve levies, meant to save up funds for an eventual remodel, in 2006 and 2007 when the economy wasn’t nearly as weak. Both failed.

“All we can do if this goes down is continue to Band-Aid,” Boisseau said.

The school will host a community meeting to discuss the bond issue at 6:30 p.m. May 21. For additional information about the bond request, call the school at 257-2428 or visit www.kilaschool.com.
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