USD 378 holds forum for upcoming bond referendum

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Patrons listened to a presentation from Riley County Schools Superintendent Cliff Williams and the school board Monday on a $15 million bond referendum up for a vote in the Nov. 5 election. (Derek Simmons/KMAN)

RILEY — The Riley County USD 378 school board held a forum to discuss a proposed $15 million dollar bond referendum with the public.

Speaking to a gathering at the Riley County High School cafeteria Monday, Superintendent Cliff Williams said the bond would cost the owner of a $100,000 home around $18 per month or about $218 in yearly property taxes, comparing it to about a pizza per month for the average consumer. Williams adds that if it passes, one addition would be a middle school gymnasium with locker rooms.

“We take our middle school students up to the high school four days a week and they make four individual trips per day to get all the students through the curriculum there,” Williams said.

Other areas addressed by the bond would be ADA-compliant upgrades, additional grade-school classrooms, new clock and bell systems, security upgrades, roof repairs, energy-efficiency upgrades, and a fire-suppression system Williams said would need to be addressed even if the bond doesn’t pass.

“Whether this passes or not, we need to be addressing this. The reason why is we’ve been told we’re going to be dropped by our insurance. There’s very few insurance companies that actually cover schools,” he said.

Concept showing potential grade school upgrades that would take place if the bond is passed. (Courtesy USD 378)

The Riley County USD 378 school board on held a forum to discuss a proposed $15 million dollar bond referendum with the public.

Speaking to a gathering at the Riley County High School cafeteria Monday, Superintendent Cliff Williams said the bond would cost the owner of a $100,000 home around $18 per month or about $218 in yearly property taxes, comparing it to about a pizza per month for the average consumer. Williams adds that if it passes, one addition would be a middle school gymnasium with locker rooms.

“We take our middle school students up to the high school four days a week and they make four individual trips per day to get all the students through the curriculum there,” Williams said.

Other areas addressed by the bond would be ADA-compliant upgrades, additional grade-school classrooms, new clock and bell systems, security upgrades, roof repairs, energy-efficiency upgrades, and a fire-suppression system Williams said would need to be addressed even if the bond doesn’t pass.

“Whether this passes or not, we need to be addressing this. The reason why is we’ve been told we’re going to be dropped by our insurance. There’s very few insurance companies that actually cover schools,” he said.

The next step will be a third round of phone-call polling starting today to gather the public’s opinion on the bond. There have previously been two other rounds of phone-call polls, with the most recent taking place last August and the first taking place last June. Both polls showed a bond-approval rate between 60 and 61 percent with the second seeing a slight rise in approval. Williams has told KMAN they did their homework after two previous attempts to pass a bond failed in 2013 and 2016 and says he’s heard very little push back from members of the public.

The school board claims that, unlike the previous two attempts to pass a bond, they are unified in their support for this one.

For information about the costs and projects included in the current bond, visit usd378bond.org.

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