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USD 383 prepares for bond referendum vote

Sophia Comas, Sports Editor

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Amid the Nov. 6 midterm elections, USD 383 is having a vote of their own.

The 2018 Bond Referendum is set to be decided upon on that date, either making or breaking the district’s plan to improve security and spacing issues for schools and setting the final decision as to whether the $129.5 million will be obtained to make those improvements happen.

The bond is meant to touch all aspects of the district, from pre-kindergarten all the way to high school, as well as administrators and the central district office.

According to Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid, one of the main issues the bond is meant to combat is overcrowding. At the younger level, the district is hoping to make true Early Learning Centers out of two adapted former elementary schools — College Avenue and Eugene Field — and to build a new one entirely in Blue Township.

“It’s a huge impact on the district,” Reid said. “Some of them, it’s two elementary buildings put together for that increase that we’ve seen, so it’s extremely important for that.”

On the elementary level, USD 383 is hoping to have a strictly K-5 program and is working towards putting sixth graders in the middle schools. They also hope to eliminate mobile units to better ensure student safety as well as working towards better art programs through more classrooms.

“At the elementary level, it’ll expand offerings for sixth grade, allowing them to take some elective classes that maybe they don’t have access to at the elementary schools,” Reid said.

In addition to these changes, the district has even bigger plans for MHS. The biggest change is to welcome the freshmen to West Campus, something that the school has yet to get used to. Instead of being at East Campus, A Hall would be rebuilt to have a second floor in order to accomodate to the new influx of students. It would also eliminate the need for transportation during passing periods that take away roughly 10 minutes of class time each day.

According to MHS principal Greg Hoyt, the plan could also expand the practice field and tennis courts for more parking space and storm shelters that would fit the entire school as well as updating the security systems for ensured safety.

“I think it would make us feel more like one school. We are one school, but we’re at one school in two different buildings,” Hoyt said. “There’s a certain element of disconnection attached and associated with that. It’s my hope that there will be more unity in cohesion.”

There is a question as to what the district will do if the bond doesn’t pass. Their main concern is with the elementary schools, as they hope to avoid a difficult situation with a surplus of students.

According to Hoyt, the student population has increased by 776 students since the last bond was passed in 2008.

“We didn’t add a lot of space at the elementary… at the last bond issue,” Hoyt said. “It really was bringing buildings up to par with one another so that there was equity in terms of space at each of the buildings.”

While all of these ideas are still being discussed, USD 383 is hoping that those who are able will vote in favor of the bond in order to put these changes in progress.

“I encourage every high school student that is the voting age to get out research this topic,” Hoyt said. “Even though I’m not going to be here as the principal next school year… I strongly support this because I think it’s what’s best for this community, for the kids of this community. I think kids of our community deserve the best educational experience this community can provide.”

 

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USD 383 prepares for bond referendum vote