La Center community will have chance to talk about possible school bond this week

LA CENTER The La Center School Board will host a community meeting at 7 p.m., Tue., Nov. 8, at the La Center High School, to give parents and other community members a chance to discuss issues involving the school district.

“In addition to the normal forum for parents and community members to talk with the board about whatever issues they might have, the meeting will also be an opportunity for the public to have a discussion with the board about whether or not to run a new school bond in 2017,” explained La Center School District Administrative Assistant Bill Hrdina.

Earlier this year, La Center School District Superintendent Dave Holmes said the district was at a point where its capacity was overflowing its available building space and simply using portable buildings was no longer a valid answer.

“It’s no longer an issue of ‘Do you like portables or not?’” Holmes told about the school district’s rapid increase in student enrollment and lack of space in mid-September. “There really is no place to put more portables.”

La Center community will have chance to talk about possible school bond this week
La Center School District officials are considering expansion, either by adding on to its existing buildings or by building a brand-new school. Photo by Mike Schultz

Instead of pushing more portables, the district is looking to expand — either by adding on to its existing buildings or by building a brand-new school.

In September, Holmes stood in front of a hand-selected group of school volunteers, employees and other community members who had proven to be heavily invested in the future of La Center’s schools, and told them that the district was considering a bond measure that could fund the building of a new elementary or middle school.

“It’s not an option to build another high school,” Holmes told the community members. “Right now, we have available to us, about $30 million that the state would allow us to pass a bond for. High schools are anywhere from $50 million to $80 million, so we don’t even have the capacity to pay for it (a new high school) right now.”

That leaves the district with the option of building a new elementary or middle school. Holmes says each has its pros and cons. With a new middle school, there would be more playing fields, a larger gymnasium and the types of common spaces that could be easily used by community groups during non-school hours and in the summer months. An elementary school, however, could be configured to accommodate just a few grades, such as a K-3 or a K-2 school, and could come with a smaller price tag than a costlier middle school since the district currently owns a parcel of land that may suit an elementary school.

“Everyone on the (school) board is very tuned in to taxes and to the strain that (passing a bond with new taxes) puts on families,” Holmes told the community members. “This will certainly be a very thoughtful consideration for the board members on what they’re willing to ask the citizens for.”

If it decides to go out for the schools bond, the La Center School Board could decide to put the measure on the ballot in either April or November of 2017.

Community members who wish to discuss the possible school bond, or other issues pertaining to the La Center School District, are urged to attend this week’s Community Linkage meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m., Tue., Nov. 8, and will be held in the La Center High School Commons, 725 N.E. Highlands Ave., La Center.

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