The Chewelah School District plans to run a capital bond proposition for a 7-12 building remodel at Jenkins High School in February 2013, Superintendent Rick Linehan announced at the Sept. 19 school board of directors meeting.
Renovations may include a new auditorium, gymnasium and additional classrooms to fit in the additional two grades. However, project details will not be finalized until the December meeting when the resolution for the bond proposal will be voted on in time to put it on the February election ballot.
The project will be considered part of a K-12 complex as Gess Elementary is so close in proximity to Jenkins High School and more opportunities are available for funding when considering all buildings together, Linehan said.
The total estimated project cost would be $19,200,000 although the school is eligible for a 51 percent state match for $9,750,000. State match funding has already been paid to the state by voters and used for new construction or modernization of school facilities.
The Chewelah school board approved a D-3 application form for the project approval for state assistance at the September meeting to be able to use last year’s enrollment numbers. Enrollment continues to decline.
The school will then propose a long-term bond for $9,398,000 in February. If approved for 20-year bond, it would cost district residents $1.54 per $1,000 of assessed property value each year.
The board also approved a resolution for new construction in lieu of modernization to certify that existing facilities, the Jenkins Middle School building, will only be used while the JHS building is under remodel. Once the renovations are complete, the district promises to remove all K-12 education from that building, which is over 100 years old.
Linehan said they chose to do a 7-12 remodel versus a K-8 school because they receive more state match for a 7-12 building. Also, the programs that will be using additional facilities, like a new auditorium, have a higher need at the high school rather than grade school level.
The school board reviewed the results for the phone survey conducted in July by Construction Services Group at a special work session on Sept. 6. Overall, those surveyed were positive about a K-8 or 7-12 building. About 60 percent said they would support a bond for either situation.
They had 112 surveys completed, which is representative of the voter population for the district size, Linehan said.
However, since only 30 percent of those surveyed had children or grandchildren in the district, Linehan said they need to recruit more parent voters to make a positive difference during the eleciton.
The school board approved to hire Tara Anderson and Melissa Church as the Varsity and JV high school volleyball coaches. They also hired Kevin Kernan as head cross-country coach, Sky Griepp as a part-time replacement contracted teacher, and Carol McMillan as a new bus driver.
Stephanie Fox resigned as a high school JV girl’s basketball coach, and the board posted for the open position. Jason Norman resigned as a high school assistant football coach and that position has been posted for as well. The board also posted for a 8th grade girl’s basketball coach and two after-school para educators for Jenkins Middle School.
Student handbooks for all schools were approved by the board.
Linehan said they are working with the Libraries of Stevens County to possibly help keep a library open in Chewelah for the next year as the city plans to cut all library funding for 2013. Linehan said he has applied for a grant to keep the school library open to the community after school hours. He said using it for a community facility may help them appeal to more voters when the bond goes up for approval.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff