Voters to decide $10.5 million A.F. school bond

AMERICAN FALLS β€” Voters in the American Falls School District will decide the fate of a $10.5 million bond to expand the Intermediate School and move third-graders to that building from Hillcrest Elementary. Bond funding would also pay for a new auxiliary gym at the high school and additional upgrades at the Intermediate School.

The bond election, which requires a two-thirds majority for passage, will be held Tuesday.

If approved by voters, the project will be broken down into three phases. Phase one calls for the new high school gym and third-grade classrooms be completed in the spring of 2016. Phase two would be a roof overbuild for the fourth-grade area of the Intermediate School and renovations that include a media center and computer lab in the summer of 2016. Phase three would be a new roof for the fifth-grade area of the Intermediate School, new restrooms and an ADA ramp for the cafeteria by 2017.

 

A surge in kindergarten enrollments in the district began about five years ago, according to American Falls Superintendent Ron Bolinger. It has pushed up all the elementary class sizes until they have reached about 30 students per classroom.

β€œThe thing that precipitated this was the overcrowding,” Bolinger said about the building upgrades.

In 1998, American Falls School District voters approved a $13.95 million bond to construct the new high school on the western edge of the city. That bond will be paid off in 2018.

Superintendent Bolinger said the district would use interim financing to start construction on improvements at the Intermediate School if voters approve the new bond and not put the new bond on the tax rolls until the 1998 high school bond expires.

Bolinger said this means that even with passage of the new $10.5 million bond issue, property taxes for schools would still go down about 38 percent. The drop in property taxes would be much greater if the bond fails.

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