By Sue Moore
A recommendation from the Vicksburg administrative team for a potential bond issue for facilities upgrade, maintenance and technology investments, was presented to the Vicksburg School Board at its February meeting.
“It’s not very sexy or glamorous to ask for monies to repair and replace roofs, boilers, parking lots and the like,” Superintendent Charlie Glaes surmised. This isn’t a lot of flash bringing our buildings up to snuff, but it’s absolutely necessary to provide our students with a safe environment suitable for providing them the best, most competitive education possible.”
A team of representatives at the meeting from Tower Pinkster (architects), Frederick Construction (contractors), and in-house maintenance people, spent a year touring the five buildings, prioritizing the needs and coming up with a report identifying $30 million dollars in upgrades necessary to bring the buildings up to “like new” condition. “This school district has always been fiscally conservative, with a history of sound fiscal management. Due to declines in state funding, we’ve got to ask voters for help in upgrading our facilities, but we can’t cover everything, we’ve had to whittle it down to the absolute necessities,” Glaes said.
Thus, Steve Goss, assistant superintendent for finances discussed the recommendations and advised the board to ask for a 15.485 million bond issue, calling it the “middle range” of choices. This would require a millage vote in the May election cycle, he said. The proposal would mean an estimated one and one half mill increase over the current millage rate, with bonds projected to be repaid by 2027. That equates to $84 a year on a home with $56,000 in taxable value or broken down further, to $7 a month or $1.62 per week.
Steve Miller, director of technology services for the school district, outlined the technology aspects of the proposal. They include upgrades to the phone system, energy conservation items, security access to various buildings, clock systems, and other infrastructure upgrades for classrooms. Many of these items are “end of life” capability and running on borrowed time, he explained. In addition, the District will provide classrooms and its teachers with new instructional technology to prepare students to be competitive in today’s modern world.
The board met in special session on Thursday, February 20 and approved the resolution to place the proposal on the May 6 ballot.