Bond for Iola consolidated elementary to go before voters

25-million dollar bond to be voted on in April
Bond for Iola consolidated elementary to go before voters

The Iola Kansas school board has decided to put a 25-million dollar school bond for a new elementary school before voters.

Terri Carlin is a 3rd grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary — one of three elementary schools in Iola.

Carlin:”It’s great day to day. The thing that is probably one of the most difficult is the scheduling.. trying to get in specials, trying to make sure we have our lunch time, all the recess time we need.”

Part of that is because the gym has to double as a cafeteria — taking away time from recess and other classes.

Carlin:”Right now, we share specials teachers, so our schedule is very much dictated in when those teachers are available, since they travel to other buildings.”

Those are just a few reasons why the Iola school board has decided to put a 25-million dollar bond issue before voters for a consolidated elementary school at the corner of Monroe and Kentucky in Iola, for pre-k through fifth grade.

According to Superintendent Stacey Fager, fixing issues like leaking roofs and basements in all three of the existing schools would cost almost as much as building a new facility.

Fager:”It was upwards of 20 million for just remodeling alone, and a lot of that would involve light remodeling.. Where it might be just paint and some carpet.”

Fager also says if the issue does pass, the state department of education would pay 35 percent of that 25 million in grants, bringing the total cost to the district down to about 16-point-five million.

Fager:”You have to hire people that.. Say to clean the facility, to be able to man where people come in and out.. but nothing would be done, it would be through attrition that we would look at any changes in staff number. So, this would definitely cut down on those duplications and could save a considerable amount of money.”

The district would try to re-purpose the old schools.

All to benefit students as much as possible.

Carlin:”I think this new facility will let them see that we think, and the community of Iola thinks, that education is important, and our students deserve the very best.”

The bond issue will go before voters in April.

Also included in the issue is a seven-million dollar storm shelter for the middle and high schools, and two-point eight million for h-vac upgrades at the high school.

Those will be separate questions, with costs separate from the 25-million for the elementary school, but for them to be considered, the elementary school question has to pass.