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Ralston voters approve $83.75M school bond issue

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Voters in the Ralston Public Schools approved a $83.75 million bond issue Tuesday night, the district’s first bond issue in 20 years and one that officials say will serve students well into the future.

Unofficial results from the Douglas County Election Commission show it passing with nearly 64% of the vote.

The final tally from the mail-in election is likely to come next week.

The bond issue will pay for renovations and improvements at all eight schools in the district.

“Really we just couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome,” said school board President Mary Roarty. “We greatly appreciate the support of all the Ralston community, looking forward to the future Ralston projects. It’s going to be a really exciting time for us.”

Superintendent Mark Adler said he’s “super grateful.”

“Our community has spoken loudly in support of our kids,” Adler said.

“Our kids deserve this, and I hope this helps us level the playing field of opportunity for the kids that we have going to our schools.”

He said the projects will impact “every single kid and every single staff member.”

Adler said the “kingpin” project on the list will be the rebuild of Mockingbird Elementary School.“Once we get that accomplished, it allows us to have that transition site for our other elementaries, and so we’ve already put a couple of things in motion to get a little bit of a head start.”

He said he hopes to get some construction underway this year.

Under the district’s plan dubbed Future Ready Ralston, Mockingbird will be demolished and rebuilt, other schools will be upgraded to modern security systems and floor plans, and the high school will get new competition baseball and softball fields.

The last time district officials put a bond issue in front of voters was in 2001. At that time, voters approved a $26.5 million bond issue to renovate Ralston High School.

The bond issue will impact property owners. The owner of a home valued at $150,000 will pay an extra $97.20 a year in property taxes.

The high school improvements are estimated at $24.3 million.

The school also will get concrete parking lots and drives, an upgrade from asphalt, a spokesman said. Inside the school, space will be renovated for career education programs.

Ralston Middle School and all the elementary schools would get vestibule-style secure entrances.

Once Mockingbird students occupy their new building, beside the old one, the old building would be used temporarily by children from Meadows, Blumfield and Wildewood Elementary Schools while their schools undergo renovation of spaces built with open-classroom designs.

Those renovations would likely be staggered over several years. Afterward, the old Mockingbird would be demolished., 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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