If at first you don't succeed, shrink and try again.
Millard school board members voted 6-0 Monday night to put an $80 million school bond issue on the May 14 ballot.
The spending package includes security upgrades throughout the district, classroom additions at fast-growing schools and a new lecture hall and secure entrance at Millard North High School.
Board President Mike Pate, who did not support the failed 2011 bond issue, backed this one.
“It's more focused on what we really need in our buildings,” Pate said.
The proposal is substantially smaller than the $140.8 million bond issue that voters rejected, but it contains some of the same projects.
New board member Paul Meyer, who led opposition to the 2011 bond issue before he was elected last fall, surprised some colleagues and supported the plan.
After the vote, Meyer said he “reluctantly” supported the bond issue but was having second thoughts.
“I haven't felt good ever since I voted yes,” he said by phone from his home. “I knew it was going to pass with or without my vote. It would have been 5 to 1, but I reneged on my moral compass and I voted yes and I honestly meant to vote no.”
Meyer, a longtime district critic who cast himself as a watchdog in his campaign for the board, said he will have some explaining to do with members of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom who supported him.
Millard resident Terry Dale, who said he has two children, two stepchildren and two grandchildren in the district, urged the board to submit the package to voters.
Dale said the spending package addresses needs, not wants. In addition to security, the proposal addresses critical upkeep of district facilities, he said.
“We can't keep taking money from educating our students to make our buildings safe and secure,” he said.
If approved, the tax impact on a house valued for tax purposes at $150,000 would be about $60 a year, officials said.
The bonds would pay to renovate 14 elementary schools that have open floor plans now deemed a security risk in the event of an intruder. Renovations would create interior walls, so classrooms could be locked down. The open-classroom layouts were popular in the 1970s.
Those renovations account for $14.2 million of the proposal.
The plan also contains money to replace older classroom door locks with new ones that can be locked from inside the classroom to keep out an intruder.
The earlier bond issue proposal contained about $23 million for technology purchases, including computers, servers and cabling. Those are being financed with a lease-purchase agreement and are not in the latest proposal.
This bond issue also includes $33 million for capital projects such as roof repairs, painting and paving.
It would add buzz-in front doors and video cameras at all district schools, which would be locked during the day after students arrive.
The proposal would add classrooms to Rohwer and Upchurch Elementary Schools and either Black Elk Elementary or another school in the west and southwest reaches of the district, depending on long-range enrollment projections still under review.
The additions, along with adjustments in attendance boundaries, are intended to accommodate expected enrollment growth in the district's western reaches.
The bond issue would add industrial tech space at Millard South and Millard West.
It would create a single, more-secure front entry at Millard North, while adding a lecture hall, administrative offices and new connecting corridor between wings to reduce hallway congestion.
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|Millard bond proposal|
|Roofing, roof drains, weatherproofing, sealants, insulation||$10.5 million|
|Outdoor facilities, outbuildings, seating, fields, irrigation||$6.25 million|
|Paving, site lighting, sidewalks, hard-surface play areas||$4.63 million|
|Mechanical, HVAC and controls, electrical systems||$3.13 million|
|Flooring: carpet, resilient, ceramic, quarry, wood||$2.70 million|
|Painting, wall covering, wall systems||$1.50 million|
|Skylight systems, architectural windows, thermal glass||$1.35 million|
|Fire detection, kitchen hoods, suppression, code compliance||$1.15 million|
|Drainage, erosion, fencing, sodding, seeding, landscaping||$750,000|
|Intercom (interior and exterior), public address, clock systems||$675,000|
|Exterior doors, windows, frames, hardware||$375,000|
|Security environment upgrade (includes front-door buzzers, monitoring)||$5.40 million|
|Improvements (door lock upgrades) at all 25 elementaries||$716,496|
|Closing open floor plans, lighting at 14 elementaries: *||$14.2 million|
|Add lecture hall, connecting corridor, administrative space, new front entry at Millard North High School||$11.6 million|
|Classroom additions at Rohwer, Upchurch and a third school to be decided based on enrollment projections||$5.79 million|
|Industrial tech addition, renovate information technology space at Millard South High School||$2.70 million|
|Replace exterior curtain walls and related mechanical and electrical; reroofing and secure entry at Bryan Elementary||$2.16 million|
|Renovation of interior finishes and casework replacement at Bryan Elementary||$2.14 million|
|Industrial tech addition, renovate information technology space at Millard West High School||$1.56 million|
|Exterior restoration: reroof, skylights, metal panels, paint doors, sealants at Ron Witt Support Services Center||$696,767|
* The 14 elementary schools are: Abbott, Aldrich, Cottonwood, Ezra, Harvey Oaks, Montclair, Disney, Hitchcock, Neihardt, Rockwell, Ackerman, Black Elk, Upchurch, Willowdale