Brandon Valley voters easily pass school bond
Intermediate school expected to open in fall 2015
December 04. 2013 10:07AM
In fall 2015, the Brandon Valley School District will have a new intermediate school.
On Tuesday, 77 percent of voters authorized the district to borrow $5.95 million to pay for the school, more than the 60 percent required for the bond referendum to pass.
“We were saying we were cautiously optimistic that this would be a positive vote,” said Brandon Valley Superintendent David Pappone. “This is just a wonderful result. It shows how much the Brandon Valley community cares about their kids.”
The 20-year bond will cost the owner of a $200,000 home an extra $56 per year, or less as total valuation in the district grows.
Construction will start next spring west of Robert Bennis Elementary. The intermediate school will house fifth- and sixth-graders, taking fifth-graders out of the elementary school and sixth-graders out of the middle school. Those moves will create more breathing room for the existing schools, Pappone said.
Pappone said voter turnout Tuesday was in line with what the district typically sees for a school board election.
John and Carole Jensen came to the Brandon precinct together Tuesday afternoon to vote. The retired couple has grandchildren that go to school in the district and voted in favor of the intermediate school.
“I think it’s a good method of solving a population problem in the grades, and a good way to get the sixth-graders away from the seventh- and eighth-graders,” John Jensen said.
“Our grandson is a first-grader this year, and it’s going to be a problem if we don’t do something. … We want only the best for our grandkids,” Carole added.
The district has seen enrollment grow about 100 students a year, and the middle school would approach capacity if another school weren’t constructed.
Construction of the intermediate school will help buy the district time before it needs builds an elementary school, Pappone said.
Patty Bender, who voted in favor of the bond issue, recently moved to Brandon. Her children, now grown, attended school elsewhere, but she felt the issue was important to enough to go to the polls Tuesday.
“I don’t have any children in school and I didn’t raise my kids here, but I hear the education here is some of the best in the state, and Brandon Valley prides themselves on that, which is awesome,” she said.
The bond won’t cover the entire cost of the project, estimated at $14 million. The district will use capital outlay money – which won’t raise taxes – to pay for road and traffic improvements to accommodate the new school, Pappone said.
Valley Springs resident Roger Vosberg wasn’t sold on the idea that the district needs an intermediate school.
“We should consider adding onto this school,” he said after voting in the band room at Valley Springs Elementary. “If you’re going to add on anything, you should add onto this school because the town’s coming this way, and we need this school here.”
The intermediate school is scheduled to open in August 2015.
— Jill Meier, editor of the Brandon Valley Challenger, contributed to this story.
BVSD INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL BOND ELECTION RESULTS
Precinct Yes No Total
Brandon 932 (78.65%) 253 (21.4%) 1,185
Valley Springs 91 (63.2%) 53 (36.8%) 144
Fred Assam 238 (75.3%) 78 (24,7%) 316
Total 1,261 384 1,645
Total eligible voters: 12,481
Total voters: 1,645 – 13.2% voter turnout