We would like to extend a sincere "THANK YOU" to our community for your support in PASSING the no tax levy increase bond issue! We are so excited to begin working on the new 5th and 6th grade school building. We appreciate your continued support and will keep you updated along the way!
To address the growth in our community and an increasing number of students, Republic School District is proposing a no tax levy increase bond issue for $47 million on the April 4, 2023 election ballot. This proposal would fund a new school building for all 5th and 6th grade students in the district, which would be built on the district’s newly acquired land near Highway 60 and James River Freeway.
The new 5th and 6th grade center is estimated to cost $42 million and to be completed in the fall of 2025. Other projects could also be completed as funds allow. Those projects could include expansions and upgrades that community members received a survey about earlier this year.
Regardless of the bond issue passing or failing, the tax levy will not change from its current rate of just over $4.12.
For more information, please view the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Virtual Community Event
On Thursday, March 30, Republic School District hosted a Virtual Community Meeting last night about the no tax levy increase bond issue, which can be viewed at this link: https://youtube.com/live/VgGWPA9OGtQ
This live event included a brief presentation about the proposal from Dr. Matt Pearce, Superintendent, Mr. Travis Edwards, Board of Education President, and Mr. Jason Perkins, Executive Director of Operations. They also answered submitted questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
If approved, what need will this project address?
This new building will help our district accommodate our increasing number of students. Approximately 1,000 new students are expected in the next 3-5 years due to growth in our community.
This proposal is the second phase of a proactive facilities plan that began two years ago when the supportive Republic community approved a no tax levy increase bond issue which helped the district build a new Early Childhood Center, a High Wind Shelter at Schofield Elementary and purchase land.
The new EC allowed the district to not only serve more than double the number of students in early childhood education and early childhood special education, it also opened up additional spaces in two elementary schools that were previously used for preschool.
Central Office was then able to move into the former EC, opening up square footage in Price Elementary, which is being renovated into more classrooms.
The land that was purchased as a result of “phase one” is near James River Freeway and Highway 60. The 78-acre tract of property, shown below, was strategically chosen as it gives our district room to grow in the future.
A new 5th and 6th grade center, built on the newly acquired land, will help the district address growth by moving approximately 400 6th grade students from Republic Middle School and 80-100 5th grade students from each of our five elementary buildings.
Why are we considering a 5th and 6th grade center instead of another K-5 building?
A 5th and 6th grade center accommodates expected growth at our elementary buildings, while also alleviating crowding at Republic Middle School. Republic Middle School is one of the largest in the state, as it houses 6th through 8th grade students.
Republic School District also recognizes the need for a more gentle transition for students from 4th to 7th grade, which is why families, staff and district leadership have recommended a building specifically for 5th and 6th grade students.
In this building, students from elementary and secondary learning would be together. What would programming look like for 5th grade students versus 6th grade students?
As mentioned above, the 5th and 6th grade center would provide a more gentle transition for students as they move through the district. Within this new building, students in 5th and 6th grade would be able to slowly integrate their coursework and daily schedules into what they can expect at the secondary level, once they reach middle school and high school. Students in 6th grade could expect transitions to classes and elective options.
What design features would the new 5th and 6th grade center include?
We are taking the design of this new building very seriously. We are working with architects, as well as a committee of staff members to discuss the features needed in this building. That committee is made up of administrators, 5th and 6th grade teachers, as well as special education leaders. In addition, we have asked a group of 5th and 6th grade students for their opinions on the design and cosmetic features of the new building. Watch a video about that student design workshop here.
So far, we aim for the building to include collaborative learning spaces for students and staff to work together. In addition, we look to incorporate natural light with some outdoor learning spaces. The 5th and 6th grade center would have a gym/high wind shelter, a media center and outdoor play areas. We look to provide adequate space for the electives students are able to participate in, including music, art and Project Lead The Way. Project Lead the Way provides transformative learning experiences, hands-on STEM courses K12 for students, and engaging professional development for teachers.
The image below is a conceptual drawing of the potential building, which is subject to change based on final design and architectural decisions.
How many new staff members would be needed for the 5th/6th center?
While the district expects to have enough teachers on staff for the new building, there would be additional staff that would need to be hired, including administrators, secretaries, custodial staff, librarians, a school nurse, etc. Budget allocations for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 are already taking into account the possibility of opening up this facility and appropriately compensating the staff it would need.
During the last bond issue, Republic School District said “phase two” of the facilities plan would be in four-five years. It’s only been two years since the last no tax levy increase bond issue. Why do we need a building now?
Our community has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the last two years, since the district’s last no tax levy increase bond issue. At the time of that proposal, the district was basing plans on Republic’s projected growth, which is calculated by considering the number of homes/apartments that are under construction or in the planning stages. Now, there is a considerably greater amount of residences being projected in our community. That means, we need to move now to get ahead of the growth that we had already started preparing for.
How much is the 5th/6th center estimated to cost and how does a no tax levy increase bond work?
The 5th and 6th grade center is estimated to cost $42 million for development of the new land and constructing the building. The no tax levy increase bond issue would provide the district with $47 million to complete this project and other potential expansions as well. In January, the district surveyed students, staff and families on the projects they’d like to see if funds were available. The district will not make any decisions on what projects could be completed until after construction is underway on the 5th/6th center, if approved.
As a reminder, this is a no tax levy increase bond issue meaning that to pay for these projects we are asking taxpayers to extend the debt, not to pay any more.
If this proposal is approved, what will our bonding capacity be once these projects are completed?
This proposal will use most of the district’s bonding capacity if the bond issue is approved. Each year, as the District repays its debts, the bonding capacity of the District grows.
Currently, all preschool-5th grade students and employees will have access to a high quality shelter in the case of inclement weather. Would this new building also feature a high wind shelter for 5th and 6th grade students?
Yes, if the bond issue passes, that would mean all preschool-6th grade students and staff will have access to a high quality shelter in the case of inclement weather. The new 5th and 6th grade center would feature a high wind shelter, similar to those at the Republic Early Childhood Center and Schofield Elementary.
Who can vote on this no tax levy increase bond issue on April 4, 2023? What majority is required for it to pass?
Any patron living in the Republic School District will have the opportunity to vote on this no tax increase bond issue on April 4, 2023. Polling places open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. To pass, a four-sevenths majority is required (57.14%).
What is the official ballot language for the proposed no tax levy increase bond issue?
"Shall Greene County Reorganized School District No. 3 (Republic) issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $47,000,000, resulting in no estimated increase to the District's debt service property tax levy, for the purpose of constructing a 5th/6th grade school building and acquiring, constructing, improving, repairing, renovating, furnishing and equipping new and existing school facilities and sites?
If this question is approved, the District's debt service property tax levy is estimated to remain unchanged at $0.94 per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property."
Bond Issue Breakdowns
Throughout the month of March, Republic School District shared a series of videos called "Bond Issue Breakdowns." These videos consisted of conversations between Superintendent Dr. Matt Pearce and staff members across the district, as they discussed different components of the proposed 5th and 6th grade center. Watch all three below.