North Callaway School Board to put bond issue before voters in November

Patrons asked to approve up to $6 million for district improvements

The North Callaway School Board unanimously approved to put a bond issue on the November ballot during Thursday night's regular meeting.

With a few questions still to be answered as to whether the district can accomplish some projects — such as replacement of ceiling tiles in several buildings — at a lower cost on its own, a bond amount is not yet set, but the board did cap it at $6 million. Those details will be resolved in time for the board to approve the final bond language — and amount — at its August meeting.

The bond will not involve a tax increase for local patrons.

Projects in the bond issue include a new agricultural/science building; technology upgrades; the aforementioned ceiling tiles; a phone system overhaul; a new track; a new bus barn to be located behind the T-Bird Learning Center, with a reinforced room to serve as a storm shelter for the learning center; and parking lot improvements throughout the district.

There was some discussion as to how to keep costs down — several board members expressed a desire to stay under $6 million, if possible — before board members ultimately decided to approve the list prioritized during its last meeting.

"I think if we're going to do it, this is the plan to do it with," Board Member Jennifer Bondurant said. "I think the way we've gone about this has been very thoughtful ... we sought community input ... we're trying to build the best learning facilities for our students as we can and not put strain on taxpayers."

In other business during Thursday night's board meeting, Ashli Houchins gave a report on the Partners in Learning after school program, which is funded through a five-year 21st Century Grant.

According to Houchins, the program was open for 167 mornings and 160 afternoons and offered 50 different activities at Hatton-McCredie Elementary, Auxvasse Elementry and the high school. There were 590 students enrolled in the program, and 320 attended regularly.

Students had the opportunity to participate in a range of activities that provided academic enrichment, leadership and mentoring, recreation, fitness and tutoring.

Grade goals for the year were for 40 percent of the free- and reduced-price lunch (FRL) subgroup participating to demonstrate improvements in math and reading. Houchins said progress was made toward the math goal, with 37.6 percent of the FRL subgroup demonstrating improvement, while the program exceeded the goal for reading, with 44.9 percent of the FRL subgroup demonstrating improvement.

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