School of the Osage succeeded in getting voter approval for $23 million bond issue that district officials say will impact every grade level and develop a cutting edge preschool program.
The bond issue needed a 4/7 majority to pass and was finalized with 58 percent in favor, just making it over the mark. The bond asks for an increase of 15 cents per $100 assessed valuation. On average, a $100,000 house will have a $28.50 annual increase. The overall levy for the district was $3.14 per $100 of assessed valuation prior to the bond approval. The overall levy will raise to approximately $3.29.
The decision to go to voters was made by the district after conducting a strategic and comprehensive facility evaluation for the school. The evaluation identified many priority facility needs at each of the school’s campuses. Since the needs were immediate, the board chose to address them all in one bond proposal project versus spreading the individual projects out over nearly 10 years.
Dr. Laura Nelson, Deputy Superintendent for School of the Osage, says they are pleased with the results of the vote and can’t wait to start implementing plans in place. She says this funding will help them become the only district in the area with a state of the art preschool program. She sees this as a launching point in closing the achievement gap in young learning.
“We see this as a big step for the district,” Nelson said.
At the high school level, Nelson explained that many of the facilities in use haven’t been upgraded since 1985. Now, with these funds, they will be able to move forward on initiatives in tech advancement throughout the campus. This includes a planned “tech space” that would be used to mix learning methods of science, art, tech science, and more into a cohesive area for the students.
Other capital improvements planned with the bond include athletic upgrades such as a brand new on-campus soccer field, work in the area of performing arts and auditorium space, cafeteria work, and general classroom improvements to accommodate better for the number of kids the school actively serves.
Outside of the classroom, Nelson says they plan on road work projects around the campus. There are also plans to build a brand-new fieldhouse for various activities and a renovated concessions building.
A key point in pushing this bond issue includes measures of security and school safety. Nelson says making sure there is better security in the upper elementary is a main focus. An immediate change being made would be to install double locking entrances into the building.
“These changes will put us in an outstanding position,” Nelson said.
Below are election results for contested races and tax issues in the Lake area that were on the April 3, 2018 ballot.