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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Oran voters also facing school bond issue

Monday, April 3, 2006

ORAN -- Voters in the Oran R-3 District will decide on Tuesday whether or not to borrow $2.5 million to build a new elementary and junior high school connecting to the high school.

"It will put all the students under one roof," said Oran R-3 Superintendent Mitch Wood.

A four-sevenths majority is needed for passage.

"The existing tax levy is $3.50, which we will pay off for the high school building in February 2007," Wood said. "Basically we're proposing to keep the levy at $3.50 for the next 20 years to build a new elementary, junior high and a multipurpose building."

The issue will include a multi-purpose/cafeteria building and kitchen area. The brick addition would replace four smaller school buildings that date back to the 1960s. Two other buildings would be remodeled.

The existing cafeteria would be expanded into a library/media center. Wood said the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends 2,100 sq. ft. of library space for students in grades K-12. The existing library space is 1,400 sq. ft., and the proposal includes a new facility of 2,350 sq. ft., he said.

Lighting, electrical and plumbing system updates are also needed, Wood said. "The exterior can fool you, and our staff does a good job of keeping the grounds and maintenance looking good," Wood said, adding any resident is welcome to tour the school prior to voting.

Construction and remodeling will cost an estimated $3.5 million. In addition to the bond issue, the school district would use $1 million over 10 years from surplus funds to pay off a $1 million loan.

Of the $2.5 million for the bond issue, $500,000 will be provided in the form of a zero-interest loan called, Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, to complete remodeling and renovations to the existing cafeteria, office, library and computer building including a new library and media center, computer lab, art classroom, storage and handicapped restrooms.

"If the issue doesn't pass it, the tax levy drops to $3.32 -- down 18 cents -- and below what would be paying five to 10 years from now when it will cost more than 18 cents to redo the things we're asking to do now," Wood said.