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$16.8 million school bond issue winning by wide margin in Douglas County West
Douglas County West

$16.8 million school bond issue winning by wide margin in Douglas County West

The 2021 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award winners have taught through a pandemic, learning to innovate and be flexible as new challenges and changes arose.

The $16.8 million school bond issue in the Douglas County West Community Schools appeared to pass handily Tuesday.

More than 67% of the votes cast were in support of the measure. The district held a mail-in election.

The measure would build and renovate middle and high school space and add a 500-seat auditorium.

Superintendent Melissa Poloncic said Tuesday that she would wait until the remaining votes are tallied before commenting.

The results released at 5 p.m. reflect by-mail ballots returned through Monday. The ballots returned on Election Day will be checked in, opened and counted on Wednesday, according to the Douglas County Election Commission. It would be unusual for those ballots to change the outcome.

District officials argued that the bond issue is needed because growing elementary enrollment would eventually impact the middle school and high school.

Enrollment growth has been steady at about 3% a year, officials said.

As for the tax impact, Poloncic described the proposal as “levy-neutral.”

Voters were asked to authorize moving 7 cents of levy from the building and general funds to the bond fund.

If the vote holds, district officials say the total property tax levy for schools will remain at 95 cents per $100 of valuation. That means that the owner of a house valued at $200,000 would pay $1,900 to the district.

Douglas County West, with just over 1,000 students, has middle and high school students in the same building complex. Middle school classrooms have exceeded capacity, with middle school enrollment increasing 38% in the last six years, the district says.

The bond projects include 38,000 square feet of new construction: a middle school addition, an auditorium with fine arts classrooms, and restrooms and concessions for the softball complex. The bonds would also pay for 34,000 square feet of renovation: classrooms, a weight room, locker rooms, a wrestling/cardio space and multipurpose space.

The auditorium will provide performance space for band, choir, theater, speech, lectures and programs, which are currently held in the gymnasium., 402-444-1077

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Joe covers education for The World-Herald, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school. Phone: 402-444-1077.

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