Union School voters to decide fate of $15-million bond issue next Tuesday

Wednesday, February 8th 2006, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

New classrooms, new school buses, and the beginning of a new elementary school are all part of the latest the Union School district’s bond.

Voters will decide the $15-million bond next Tuesday. Union school leaders tell News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims the bond money is needed because the district is adding more students and more programs.

Union Public Schools continue to grow by leaps and bounds. They're adding students from pre-K to high school and it's getting a little crowded.

Jarod Mendenhall, Union Asst. Superintendent: "We grow at about 200 kids per year and we gotta keep ahead of that curve."

That's why Union is once again asking voters to approve a $15.2-million bond issue. A big chunk would go to expand the intermediate high school. Right now, students aren't the only ones changing classes. Some teachers don't have their own room, so they have to keep their materials on a cart and travel from class to class. Bond money would pay for eight more classrooms.

Last year's bond money is already taking shape in the form of Union's 12th elementary school. And this year's bond would lay the groundwork for another elementary school. Elementary number 13 would allow the district to relieve overcrowding at neighboring schools. And give them space to expand the four-year old program from half day to full day by 2008. "We try to bring in programs that are going to help our students. The elementary four year old and full day kindergarten programs are the right thing to do for our patrons.”

Union also wants to build on a good thing. The district's award-winning alternative program already serves high school students who are struggling. This bond would allow them to renovate Union's education service center and turn it into an alternative middle school. The new bond won't raise your taxes, but it won't lower them either.

Union school leaders hope a better district will make the cost worthwhile to voters. Some of Union's school buses are 16 years old. So they're setting a side about $1.6-million to update their fleet.

The bond election is next Tuesday.