Both the Van Meter and Woodward-Granger School Districts will be moving forward with school expansion and renovation after Tuesday night’s special election.
Unofficial results show 469 voters in Van Meter said ‘yes’ to approve a $7.8 million bond issue, passing the vote by 66.43 percent. Out of the 706 total ballots cast, 237 of those were ‘no’ votes.
A similar bond issue failed to win 60 percent support last September, but Superintendent Deron Durflinger said there was more support for this election.
“We were very excited to see the results of this election,” he said. “Not only was it approved, but almost 32 percent of our citizens decided to participate. We appreciate everyone who voted and supported us through this process as well as the help our steering committee put into this issue.”
The district will address current structural needs such as lowering the ceiling in the old gymnasium (activities center) to create additional classroom space and building a new gymnasium north of the current building.
High school baseball and softball fields will be relocated across the highway (R16) east of the current facility.
Another addition includes a pedestrian walkway located under R16 for more convenient and safer access to the ball fields.
Elementary playground and outdoor courts will also be upgraded and moved to the west of the building.
Under the plan, district taxpayers would see a decrease in property tax rates from the current $16.56 per $1,000 net valuation to $16. Last year, the city’s tax rate was at $18.23 per $1,000 valuation.
Voters in the Woodward-Granger district also were in favor of helping their district by passing a $9.85 million bond referendum.
Five hundred and forty-six voters marked ‘yes’, passing the vote with 68.85 percent. Out of the 793 total ballots cast, 247 of those were ‘no’ votes.
“It’s a really good indication that the community thinks highly of all our planning and that we are on the right track,” School Board President Colleen Sharlau said.
The board’s next steps will include deciding on site design, building materials, meeting with their consultant—Facilities Cost Management Group of Omaha, and holding additional budget meetings.
With a passing vote, Sharlau said the district will no longer need portable classrooms after a new facility is built.
“One of the greatest benefits is our students won’t have to use the portable classrooms,” she said. “It’s a good feeling knowing those are going away and that every student will have the same learning opportunities.”
Residents within the district are expected to see a property tax change of 52 cents per $1,000 net valuation.
The average homeowner is estimated to pay $32 to $33 a year in taxes.