ASHLEY SMITH • TIMES-NEWS Wendell School District superintendent Greg Lowe, right, listens to district maintenance supervisor Ken Pressley at Wendell High School on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. The Wendell School District is looking for a new plan to take care of building needs after voters turned down a $3.1 million funding request in March.


WENDELL • After voters rejected a funding request this spring, the Wendell School District hopes to try again in August.

But this time, the district would take a different approach. School officials are pursuing two bonds – a $1.5 million bond for facility needs and another for $250,000 annually for 10 years to create a maintenance reserve fund.

“The (bond) committee feels our patrons will see how they work together for the needs in the district,” Superintendent Greg Lowe said.

Wendell’s school board was expected to approve the requests Tuesday night.

The $1.5 million bond, to be repaid over 20 years, would pay to replace the heating/air conditioning system and a 39-year-old roof at the Wendell High gym and repair the school’s roof and parking lot.

“The bond is covering the absolute needs that need to be done in the district,” Lowe said.

The 10-year bond would allow the district to maintain buildings so repair costs don’t rise.

“It becomes costly to take care of major repairs,” Lowe said, and it’s generally cheaper to do smaller fixes earlier.

Unlike many surrounding school districts, Wendell doesn’t have a plant facilities levy.

“This will be able to help us develop a long-term maintenance plan,” Lowe said.

A two-thirds supermajority would be needed to pass the ballot measures during the Aug. 26 election.

In March, Wendell voters rejected a $3.1 million federal bond – with 0 percent interest – that would have paid to upgrade buildings and curriculum.

Eleven Magic Valley districts had ballot measures in that election, and only Wendell’s was rejected.

But voters in the Hub City agreed in May to renew a two-year, $155,000 annual supplemental levy to help the district pay basic operating expenses. And in 2010, voters passed a $9.8 million bond to build an elementary school, which opened in fall 2012.

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The Buhl school board also may pursue a facilities bond, but not until next year.

The school board met Monday night to talk about maintenance needs: replacing the heating/air conditioning system and roof at Buhl Middle School, upgrading sports facilities, and replacing asphalt and sidewalks at all three schools.

“All of those things just get (put) on the back burner,” Superintendent Ron Anthony said.

Buhl hasn’t passed a facilities bond in recent years. But residents approved a few plant facilities levies – used for school building and maintenance – in the 1990s. And they passed a $9.65 million bond in 2003 to replace the high school.

The district isn’t looking at major projects, such as building schools, and it hasn’t decided how much money to pursue, Anthony said.

If the board moves forward with a ballot measure, it likely would be for the March 2015 election.


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