JOYCE — Administrators at Crescent School are preparing to recommend two replacement levies be placed on the February ballot, but first they want more input from the community.
The current Educational Programs and Operations levy that provides $520,000 a year for programs at the school is set to expire at the end of 2020, said Superintendent Dave Bingham. Property owners in the Crescent School District are currently paying $1.50 per $1,000 assessed valuation.
If renewed at the same amount, property owners would pay about $1.44 per $1,000 assessed valuation.
“We’re not going to increase our ask,” Bingham said. “We’re going to ask that this basic levy continue for another four years. The rate is actually going to drop a little bit.”
Also expiring at the end of 2020 is the district’s $100,000-per-year capital projects levy. Bingham is considering recommending the school board ask voters to increase that levy from $100,000 to $125,000.
Homeowners in Joyce currently pay about 28 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation for the capital projects levy. If approved at $100,000 annually, property owners would pay about the same rate. If approved at $125,000, property owners would pay about 35 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.
Before making a recommendation to the school board later this month, Bingham first wants to talk to the community.
A community meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Crescent School library.
“I want to have this discussion with our community,” he said.
The school board will consider resolutions authorizing the two levies to be on the February ballot during the board’s Nov. 26 meeting, he said.
Bingham said the district has demonstrated that it did what it told voters it would do with the current capital levy. With the current levy, the district has been able to remove the weathered mansard shingles on its buildings, replacing them with metal siding.
The district has updated four restrooms, replacing plumbing, fixtures, counters and dividers, and refurbishing and replacing surfaces to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The levy also funded lighting improvements, ADA-compliant door handles that can be locked from the inside and improvements to outside walkways.
Most projects came in under budget, he said.
“We’ve identified things that we think would be good things to consider doing for upgrades on the campus,” Bingham said.
Bingham said that if the capital projects levy is approved, it would allow the district to remodel its kitchen, repair the roof and ceiling in the band room and make improvements to the locker rooms.
Among the updates needed in the cafeteria is a new serving station, which would allow for more space for kids to eat lunch, and a new dishwasher. The current dishwasher is slightly too small to wash certain dishes the state has told the district must be washed in a dishwasher, not hand washed.
Bingham said there have been discussions about adding a backup generator to the cafeteria, which would allow the district to better care for students in the event of a power outage.
“Once kids get here, we don’t send them home because we don’t know how many working parents we have,” he said. “Everybody that’s here during a school day, we can house them up there, we can feed them, we can heat.”
A small generator would also allow the school to continue to use its septic system if there was a long-term outage.
He said that in the locker rooms, the district is considering a remodel that would cost about $300,000. It would update the plumbing, which is currently only accessible by tearing down the brick wall, and add private showers, something Bingham said students and community members have requested.
Bingham said the district is also eyeing some security upgrades on campus.
“We feel with the capital projects levy we can pretty much do everything on this list,” Bingham said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].