As part of an effort to place a bond measure to improve the size of the Jenkins Jr/Sr High School building on the February 2015 ballot, the Chewelah School board discussed two possible options at their Sept. 15 meeting.
Option 1 was essentially the same bond proposed to the community in 2013, a measure that would remodel the existing 56,600 sq. feet of the Jr/Sr High building and add 19,500 for additional classrooms and gymnasium space to “meet the needs of the district for the next 30 years.” The cost of the proposal would be $20.14 million, with $10.12 million coming from state funds. The cost of Option 1 for the district taxpayer per $1,000 of assessed value would depend on the length of the bond. A 20 year bond would cost $1.61/per $1,000 assessed, 15 years would cost $1.95/per $1,000 assessed, 10 years would be $2.75 per $1,000 assessed and 5 years would be $5.66/per $1,000 assessed.
Several board members noted that Option 1 would be their preferred option, but it was the same measure the residents of the taxing district rejected last year.
“Option one really is the best over the long term, but based onÂ
the response from the community we need to offer something different,” said Board member Clint Kirry. “Option 2 would allow us to take care of some immediate concerns while still allowing us to be eligible for grant money in the future and can address some of the remodel issues. But what will be hard will be to convince people that we are not backing down from this option 1 because it is not needed, but because we understand that there is a threshold the community will not cross, even while our buildings are in dire need.”
Kirry and board members John Eminger, chairwoman Loretta Burkey and Tim Whitley discussed Option 2, a scaled down version that they felt would likely be more agreeable to the community. Board member Deanna Norvell was absent from the meeting.
“We have to try, try, try again,” said Board member Tim Whitley. “While I am confident that Option 1 is the better deal, we are not going to get it despite lots of effort because our effort last time was good.”
Option 2 would add the additional 19,500 square feet to the Jr/Sr High School and provide 4 classrooms, 1 computer lab and secondary gym/multipurpose space. The existing school would not be remodeled but would be eligible for matching state grant funds at a later date. The total cost would be $6.84 million, with $2.7 million coming from state funds. The rate to taxpayers for a 20 year bond would be $.67 cents/per $1,000 assessed; a 15 year rate would cost $.81 cents; 12 years would cost $.96 cents and 5 years would cost $2.34/$1,000 assessed.
The board discussed how to address the need for a new track at the high school and asked Superintendent Linehan to come back to the board with an option that included the track. Linehan said that could be considered and that other options might also be explored.
“We have talked with the city and there is a possibility that we could be eligible for a parks and recreations grant that would allow us to rebuild the track, similar to the Barbour complex, “ Linehan related.
Linehan is slated to bring additional versions of Option 2 for the board’s consideration at the November school board meeting. For more information, visit www. Chewelah.k12.wa.us or call 685-6800.
By Jamie Henneman, The Independent Staff