The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

March 25, 2013

Northeast looks ahead to bond referendum

April 2 vote seeks $7.5 million to support athletic field, parking areas and new science, athletic wing

GOOSE LAKE — “This will solidify the future of your school,” Superintendent James Cox told a small group of Northeast School District residents at an information meeting last week.

On April 2 a special election will be held to decide a $7.5 million bond referendum to support new athletic fields, new parking areas (about 120-140 spaces), and a new science and athletic wing.

The scope of the project includes four new science rooms needed to accommodate new methods of teaching science, an 1,800- to 2,000-capacity gymnasium capable of dividing into three courts, a new regulation baseball field, new concession area and restrooms, a new community fitness area, and an addition to and remodeling of the weight room.

Representatives of Modern Design Architects presented conceptual plans with 17 areas of new building or renovation. If the referendum is approved, design work begins in April and June, with construction work on the new baseball field beginning in June/July and completed in August. Construction of the new science and athletic wing is slated to begin in September. In 2014 the baseball field is anticipated to be used for the season; the science and athletic wing are scheduled for completion in December 2014.

Questions from the audience involved bleacher space and science room space. Concession space was a concern for the athletic boosters. All were assured that the conceptual design would be refined as the project progressed.

Cox told the audience, bids would determine some of the project's facets. If low bids, alternates could be financed, and, if high, there will be revisions and changes. He noted that currently advantages in prices on materials, such as concrete block, were available.

He added air conditioning will be in all buildings and alternate bids for safety measures were expected.

Then Cox asked the audience, “How do you build something like this and still reduce taxes?” At that point he turned the meeting over to Matt Gillaspie of Piper Jaffray and Co. of Des Moines, the district's financial consultants.

Gillaspie said the district's debt levy will not increase because bonds for the elementary school will be paid. Based on the current tax valuation of $175,329,902 and an assumed growth rate of 1.5 percent, the debt levy rate should go down. He also said interest rates were very low so there is less paid in interest.

His estimates and calculations were conservative, Gillaspie said, but not guaranteed. Fluctuations in rates could occur until the bonds are sold in May or June, after which rates are fixed and payments set. Taxes would continue for a longer period because the bonds are for 20 years. If the bond referendum fails, the district could be debt free in three years.

Gillaspie said property valuations generally go up, which means the tax rate goes down. Also noted was the money must be used to do what the ballot says and to repay the bonds; there will not be a huge reduction, but there will be a decrease in taxes; and the school levy rate does not encompass city, county, etc. rates. Another information meeting is set for March 27.

Cox also spoke to the second question on the ballot: a vote to renew and increase the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy to 67 cents per taxable valuation. The current rate is at 33 cents, which means the new rate would increase by 34 cents. Cox said he is asking for the raise to cover the cost of a new custodian. If the proposition fails, the cost must be covered from other funds. The PPEL is in effect for 10 years.

Prior to the information meeting, the board met in regular session. Cox noted 43 open enrollment requests, including 25 from Easton Valley and 10 from Clinton.

The board approved contracting with Seven Citadels of Omaha at a cost of $5,000 to review school safety measures, a needs assessment to meet Iowa Code at a cost of $1,200, and a renewed agreement with Timberline for Medicaid reimbursement through 2016. The district has received about $200,000 in reimbursements.

A budget hearing was set for April 9, and April 23 was set for the next board meeting. The proposed budget tax rate of $14.79733, about 12 cents less than the current rate, includes successful votes on the $7.5 million referendum and the PPEL fund. The budget is based on 4 percent allowable growth and can be reduced if that amount is not passed by the state legislature. Also it can be changed if the referendum does not pass.

Kristy Weiss was approved as Northeast's new business manager and was sworn in as board secretary.

The board accepted the resignations of Steve Farrell as head high school wrestling coach and fourth-grade teacher Michelle Jacobsen. It employed as shared boys golf coach Jennifer Huling and Kathryn Hass, as girls golf coach Mary Frazier, and Joel Allen as head middle school football coach.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

  • UN seeks probe of alleged chlorine gas in Syria

    The U.N. Security Council called for an investigation Wednesday into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns, causing deaths and injuries.

    Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the current council president, said the allegations were raised during a closed-door council meeting following a briefing Wednesday by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

    Justin Bieber apologized Wednesday to those he offended by visiting a Japanese war shrine, saying he thought it was a beautiful site and only a place of prayer.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo enshrines 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals, and operates a war museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression. It is a flashpoint between Japan and its neighbors that see the shrine as distinct from other Shinto-style establishments mainly honoring gods of nature. China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and consider Japanese officials' visits there as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.

    April 23, 2014

  • Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

    An Army private convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday to living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

    The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

    April 23, 2014

  • First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

    To help veterans leaving the military as it downsizes, the government on Wednesday started a one-stop job-shopping website for them to create resumes, connect with employers and become part of a database for companies to mine.

    April 23, 2014

  • Schultz deputy lost duties, kept pay

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who is running for Congress as a budget-cutting conservative, allowed his top aide to keep collecting a $126,000 annual salary for months after deciding to eliminate his job, The Associated Press has learned.

    Schultz decided in May 2012 to cut the office's chief deputy position held for 17 months by Jim Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach and Republican congressional candidate, under a restructuring that ultimately saved money. But rather than dismiss Gibbons quickly as he did to four career workers laid off that summer, Schultz took unusual steps that kept his political appointee on the payroll through the end of the year.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video