Hoping the third time is indeed a charm, the Peaster school district is seeking voter approval of a $5.95 million bond election in the May 5 election.
School district leaders say the big difference this time around is that the bond package won’t raise taxes.
“Through feedback from community groups, we basically concluded that the voters were in favor of major needs that were on the previous proposals," said Peaster school district spokesman Paul Casey. "The piece that they were not ready for was a full-blown football stadium. We left the other parts of the bond and scaled back the athletic portion to allow us to grow those aspects as the program matures."
Twice before in 2017, Peaster had a bond package voted down, but both of those involved raising tax rates. Officials emphasize this time the bond package will have no impact on the school district tax rate.
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There are fewer projects, and the scope of the projects has been reduced, bringing the total bond amount down to $5.95 million, a reduction of $7.55 million from what was proposed in November.
Officials say the district can maintain the same tax rate because of increasing property values, and by refinancing 2010 bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates.
Instead of a new stadium, as requested previously, this bond package seeks to add spectator bleachers and lighting to the current field, and to resurface the existing track, an estimated cost of $500,000.
"I'm very hopeful this bond passes. This bond addresses the immediate needs of the district," said Peaster High School football coach Matt Chapman.
The Greyhounds fielded seventh- and eighth-grade teams this past season and will add a junior varsity squad in 2018-19. They plan to compete at the varsity level in 2020-2021.
Also in the bond proposal package are:
- $3 million: HVAC (heating, venting and air-conditioning), mechanical, and electrical system replacements and upgrades$200,000: Security and technology improvements.
- $1.2 million: Renovate cafeteria, library and restrooms.
- $600,000: Transportation improvements.
- $250,000: Band instruments, equipment and trailer.
- $200,000: Computer, numeric controlled, lab and HVAC addition.
"We are getting good reports and support for this adjustment," Casey said. "We are optimistic this is the right package for this time. We also are excited that we are offering this proposal with zero adjustments to the tax rate."