We would like to say a sincere and big THANK YOU to our community for your support in PASSING the no tax levy increase bond issue! We are so excited to begin work on the new Republic Early Childhood Center, gymnasium/high wind shelter at Schofield and purchasing land to build a new school in 4-5 years. We appreciate your continued support and you can stay updated on the progress of these projects at republicschools.org/constructionupdates. #repmoproud
To address the upcoming growth in our community, academic needs of our youngest learners and the safety of our students and employees; Republic School District is proposing a no tax levy increase bond issue on the April 6, 2021 election ballot. The following projects are part of this proposal:
- A new Republic Early Childhood Center (EC) with attached high wind shelter on district owned land at the corner of Hines and Hampton.
- A gymnasium/high wind shelter at Schofield Elementary, the only building that does not have a gym.
- Funds to acquire property for a future new school building in 4-5 years.
These projects are estimated to cost $16 million and to be completed in the fall of 2022.
Regardless of the bond issue passing or failing, the tax levy will not change from its current rate of just over $4.15.In case you missed the Virtual Community Meeting on April 1, CLICK HERE to watch the recording. This provides a presentation by Superintendent, Dr. Pearce and also answers questions submitted by the community.Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions relating to this no tax levy increase bond issue.
If approved, what needs will these projects address?
- Approximately 500 new students are expected in the next 2-3 years due to growth in our community. Currently our EC and elementaries will be stretched the most by this expected growth, so we need to address those buildings first. RMS and RHS are also experiencing growth, but those buildings currently have enough capacity to meet immediate growth needs.
- A new Early Childhood Center would address growth by moving current preschool classrooms located in elementaries to the new EC building. In addition, a new EC building would leave the current building vacant which would be remodeled into the district’s Central Office, currently located at Price Elementary. All of this movement would result in opening up 8-9 elementary classrooms across the district.
- Also on the topic of growth, if the bond issue passes the district would have funds to purchase land to build a future school building, which leads us to phase 2 of this facilities plan. The goal would be to come back to our supportive community in 4-5 years with another potential no tax levy increase bond issue to provide us the funds needed to build a new school building. The type of building would depend on the need of our community at the time of the project.
ACADEMIC NEEDS OF OUR YOUNGEST LEARNERS
- A new EC building allows us to serve at least 50% of incoming kindergarten students for preschool as opposed to currently only being able to serve 10-15% due to not having enough room. Our waiting list grows longer each year! Compared to other COC and larger school districts in the area, we serve significantly fewer incoming kindergarten students for preschool.
- The new EC would be able to serve approximately 280 preschool and early childhood special education students.
- In the words of our kindergarten teachers, preschool is the “great equalizer” in helping students be ready to learn and grow as they enter kindergarten. Early childhood education is vital to a child’s development as a student all through elementary school.
- The new EC building would include a high wind shelter and the Schofield gym would also double as a high wind shelter.
- The addition of these two high wind shelters along with the FEMA Safe Room at Sweeny would provide ALL preschool through 5th grade students and employees a high quality shelter in inclement weather.
- A gym at Schofield, the only building without a gymnasium, would eliminate the need for Schofield students to walk across the street to McCulloch daily for PE. It also eliminates the scheduling constraint on both buildings for not only PE, but family events and assemblies.
What features would the new Early Childhood Building include compared to our current facility?
- Seventeen classrooms and services all under one roof, as opposed to the current eight classrooms and services across three different buildings.
- Multipurpose space for meals, before and after school learning and meetings that doubles as a high wind shelter.
- A large covered area where students could get fresh air and play regardless of weather conditions.
- A much larger accessible playground area with additional equipment and an all-weather track around the playground area.
- The ability to offer multiple types of programming and a continuum of services to meet the needs of all students.
- Storage space for classroom, curriculum and building resources.
Why do we need to purchase property now if we do not plan to build a new school building for 4-5 years?Acquiring property in Republic is becoming more and more difficult due to the growth our community is seeing. By purchasing land now we are able to secure a future school location which will help us prepare for future needs. In addition, purchasing the property now will reduce the amount needed for a future, potential no tax levy increase bond proposal, and will give the district time to work with architects to determine the best layout and options for a future building.
If we are growing so much, why not build a new school building in addition to these projects now?While we are seeing growth, if we best utilize current district resources, we should be able to accommodate growth for 3-4 more years. If we build another K-5/K-6 type of building now, we will have ongoing personnel costs, which at this time are not warranted. We want to use our resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. We feel the two phases approach is the best way to accomplish this goal. Weren’t the Early Childhood Center and Schofield gym/high wind shelter project originally planned in 2020 to be built using district operational funds through a lease purchase? Why didn’t the district proceed in that direction?
The building of a new Early Childhood Center and a gym at Schofield were projects we were planning to build in 2020 through the use of a lease purchase. However, due to COVID19 this plan was placed on pause. Now that we have a more clear picture of our district’s financial situation during COVID19 and our growth needs, the funding strategy needed to change.
If the projects we are proposing for this no tax levy increase bond were to be paid for by a lease purchase that means district operational funds would need to be used. Since operational funds are used to provide salaries, and therefore increases/steps and new positions, and also other program and facility funding, if we went that route in funding these projects it is likely that we’d have to pull back on funding for various programs, other facility upgrades, filing needed positions and possibly salary increases/steps for employees.
By going to our supportive community with this proposal, if passed we are able to continue funding important programs and facility upgrades, filling needed positions and providing competitive salaries for our employees while also addressing the expected growth coming to our community along with meeting the academic and safety needs of our students.
TAKE NOTE: Even before the Schofield gym was part of the projects set to take place in 2020 as mentioned above, the district applied for a FEMA Safe Room grant several times prior and was denied.
How much are these projects estimated to cost and how does a no tax levy increase bond work?These projects are estimated to cost $16 million. 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. When are these projects projected to be completed, if approved?The projects are expected to be completed by the fall of 2022 if the bond issue passes on April 6, 2021. If this proposal is approved, what will our bonding capacity be once these projects are completed?The district will have approximately $10 million of bonding capacity available if the proposed bond issue is approved. This number will grow each year as we pay bonds off and our assessed valuation grows. Who can vote on this no tax levy increase bond issue on April 6, 2021? 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 6, 2021. To pass, a four-sevenths majority is required (57.14%). The district states all preschool-5th grade students and employees will have access to a high quality shelter in the case of inclement weather. What is the difference between the Sweeny FEMA Safe Room and the potential two new high wind shelters at Schofield and EC? Will the new shelters be open to the public like the FEMA Safe Room?Yes, if the bond issue passes all preschool-5th grade students and staff WILL have access to a high quality shelter in the case of inclement weather. Lyon and Sweeny students will continue to shelter at the FEMA Safe Room at Sweeny. Price and EC students would shelter at the new EC high wind shelter, and McCulloch and Schofield students would shelter in the new Schofield gym/high wind shelter.The difference between the FEMA Safe Room and a high wind shelter is the "FEMA certification" and the ability of the shelter to withstand a "missle" or flying object going 250+ mph. Otherwise, the shelters are the same and can withstand winds associated with an F5 tornado. The district applied for FEMA grant money in order to build a FEMA certified safe room at Schofield several times, but was denied.The FEMA Safe Room located at Sweeny Elementary is FEMA certified and therefore requires the district to open the shelter to the public during tornado warnings. The safe room can hold 1,454 individuals and is designed to provide protection during tornado warnings for individuals within a 1/2 mile radius of the shelter. The two new high wind shelters would be within that radius so the district feels the FEMA Safe Room will provide enough capacity to meet the needs of the public in inclement weather. Therefore, only the FEMA Safe Room will continue to be open to the public in the case of a tornado warning. Details about the FEMA Safe Room can be found at https://www.republicschools.org/Page/1139. 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 $16,000,000, resulting in no estimated increase to the debt service tax levy, for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, repairing, renovating, furnishing and
equipping school facilities, including:
- constructing a gymnasium at Schofield Elementary School
- constructing an early childhood center
- acquiring property for school purposes?
If this question is approved, the District’s debt service tax levy is estimated to remain unchanged at $0.94 per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property. The authorization of the bonds will authorize the levy and collection of an annual tax in addition to the other taxes provided for by law on all taxable tangible property in the District sufficient to pay the interest and principal of the Bonds as they fall due.