Aug 19, 2014 12:38 AM by Kelsey Kennedy
School District 49 will ask voters for millions of dollars in November. Money that would be used to build and renovate multiple schools. The School Board approved the ballot language on Monday night, but it wasn't without controversy.
The District's Accountability Chair, Dana Palmer doesn't agree with the way the money would be spent. "Our schools are currently overcrowded, and we do need a bond, but this bond makes no sense," she says.
The ballot language will ask voters for for a $107,400,000 bond. The district says the money would fund six renovations and add three new schools, including two elementary schools and a middle school.
"We are renovating Horizon Middle School instead of starting fresh," says board member Kevin Butcher. "There are five other renovation projects that we are putting together. There is some new construction, because in the newer areas there's no buildings to renovate."
Palmer and the Co-Chair of the Falcon High School Advisory Council, Darryl Murphy, are questioning the motives of newly elected members, President Tammy Harold, Vice President David Moore, and Treasurer Kevin Butcher.
"To portray themselves to this community as good stewards of taxpayer dollars, only to allow contributions from the local builders to influence their decisions instead of what this community really needs, I find that disgusting and unethical," Palmer says.
"With that in mind the question becomes, will they actually do what's right for the community, or will they do what they think is best for the builders?" Murphy added.
Butcher says those accusations are simply untrue. "We're here to do the best for the most," he says. "We're efficient with our money, and we've done a heck of a good job."
District 49's Chief Education Officer, Peter Hilts says they've worked hard for the past two years to address as many needs as possible.
"I have great respect for what our Capital Planning Committee has done over the past two years," he said. "They've worked very hard to make sure we are building exactly the buildings we must have in exactly the right parts of the district to accommodate our growth and our current situation where some of our middle schools are already over capacity."
If approved by voters, the bond would cost homeowners $1 per month per $100,000 of their home's value. For example, for a $250,000 home, the bond would come to $30 per year in extra property taxes.