The Atlantic School District’s Board of Education met well past 10-p.m. Monday, discussing the options for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) the district will need to undertake in the near future to meet current and expected growth in enrollment. Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein said before any decision is made on renovations to current facilities or the addition of classroom space, the Board, with input from the School Improvement Advisory Committee, or SIAC, will have to prioritize its needs before it meets with the committee.
Board member Dennis Davis said it is important not to use a “shotgun”-style approach to the district’s needs when approaching SIAC, the governing body which will also determine how the district will pay for any renovations. Design Alliance Architectural firm representative Jerry Purdy presented the Board with numerous facility options for dealing with growth in the district’s population, in terms of making additions to some schools and/or juggling around classroom space each year. Amstein said the simple fact of the matter is, the district has very little room left with which to place the students as they make their ways through the lower grades.
Amstein said there’s a mobile classroom in front of the Washington Elementary School this year, and regardless of the action the board takes in the next few months, the reality is, there will likely have to be two more mobile classrooms in front of the school next year. Amstein says the district is “Running out of space.” And, he says after talking with Washington Elementary School Principal Stacey Hornung, he’s learned it’s not just the classroom space that will be needed. Hornung, he says, will need another 1st and 3rd grade teacher next year. That means two more classrooms will have to utilize mobile classroom facilities.
When it comes time to pay for whatever renovations or improvements are made, Travis Squires, with bonding agent Piper-Jaffrey, says the District has three options: Sales Tax Revenue Bonds, which are secured by revenue pledge and does not require a public vote, once a Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) is in-place; General Obligation PPEL (Physical Plant & Equipment Levy) Capital Loan Notes, or through the issuance of General Obligation School Bonds. If the District elects to pursue a bond referendum, it will need to finalize a bond amount based on project fund needs. A petition calling for an election will need to be filed by mid-December, with public forums held prior to a vote on February 5th, 2013.