PORTAGEVILLE -- Portageville School District Superintendent Toni Hill compares school maintenance to upkeep on a home - preventive work can keep everything in tiptop shape. But looking over the buildings on the Portageville campus which serves some 780 students, Hill said, it is time to begin that work.
On Tuesday, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to fund a $3.3 million bond issue to update facilities.
Top on the list of needed improvements, Hill said, is replacement of roofs of the high school, middle school and library/industrial arts buildings. The flat roofs are damaged from standing water over the years, she said.
"We are going to replace them with a built-up roof system that has a slight slope, enough to get water drained off it," she said.
Replacement of heating and air in the High School, Middle School, cafeteria kitchens, first grade wing and core of the elementary building are also planned. The current systems are inefficient and noisy, according to the superintendent.
"The heating and air in the Middle School and High School are very old systems," Hill said. "We have spent an enormous amount of money on repairs and parts. In fact, we are having a hard time finding parts for the system."
Other work which the bonds revenue would fund would be replacement of single-pane windows in the cafeteria and L.G. Wilson building along with upgrades to electrical and lighting systems.
School Board officials have sought to inform residents about the proposal, hosting public meetings and meeting with parents during parent/teacher conferences. A mailing sent out by the Portageville PTO detailed the proposed improvements and even included Hill's phone number for those wanting more information.
"We've not had a lot of negative feedback," said Hill. "We have had some questions and concern."
Primarily these centered on costs. Hill and members of the Portageville District Board of Education say the bonds can be repaid without increasing the district's current $3.50 per $100 valuation levy.
"The citizens of the school district had voted several years ago to place a 25-
cent bond issue on the tax levy with those bonds to be paid off this school year, therefore the 25-cent bond will no longer exist," said Hill.
An additional 50-cent tax levy increase was passed three years ago with a five year limit. By extending the tax an additional three years beyond the five-
year sunset, the combined 75 cents in funding would pay for the renovation, school officials stated.
Passage of Tuesday's school issue will require a four-sevenths majority.
While Hill won't make any predictions, she said she is hopeful.
"We just hope that we get this passed so we can make the needed repairs we have to to make the buildings safe and secure for the students of Portageville," said Hill.