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Shelley school board to vote on whether or not to bond for a new high school

SHELLEY:  The Shelley school board meets on Thursday, August 17th, at 6 PM to discuss and decide whether to place a bond for a new high school on the November election ballot.

The superintendent and school board held a public meeting last Monday evening regarding the proposed new school bond. Approximately 70 people attended the meeting.

Did you know Superintendent Chad 
Williams allows you to know what 
he is thinking through sixty-second 
video clips?  You can get such 
informational updates 
by clicking the link here.

The meeting began with Superintendent Chad Williams distinguishing between a supplemental and a bond levy.

“A supplemental levy is a two-year funding solution for operational expenses, teacher salaries, and technology. It necessitates a simple majority vote and is intended to provide additional funding to support the ongoing needs of the school district beyond state-provided funding,” Superintendent Chad Williams said.

The Shelley School district has set an election for the supplemental levy on August 29th.

A bond levy is a long-term financial measure to secure funds for capital projects, such as building new schools or renovating existing facilities. It requires a 66.66 percent vote, according to presentation material at Monday night’s meeting.

This type of bond will fund the proposed high school’s construction.

The need for a New School

According to Williams, based on January 2023 attendance records, the school district is at classroom capacity in all its buildings.

“At Sunrise Elementary, we have no classrooms available. At Riverview, we have one room. At Stewart Elementary, we have three rooms. At Hobbs middle school, we have no room. At the high school, we have two rooms. This figure includes the four modular classrooms,” Williams said. “Currently, our largest class sizes are 213 and 214. If we build a high school with the square footage we can afford, we will have a class-size capacity of 240 students. Based on a 2% growth rate, higher than the last five and 10-year growth rates, it will be 18 years before we reach capacity.”

The need for a new school is not new in the Shelley school district. For several years, the school district realized that classroom capacity was being reached. Therefore, several years ago, they put together a building committee to look at options to meet the growth occurring in the area.

The building committee consists of the following people:  Chad Williams, Blake Jenson, Burke Davis, Lisa Marlow, Cole Clinger, Derrick Dye, Seth Cannon, Stephanie Balmforth, Trent Armstrong. Chris Zwiefel, Janica Tanner, and Pam Kantack. They have met regularly since September 2021 to find solutions to the district’s student body growth.

Why a New High School?

The building committee came up with various ideas to solve the problem. At first, they thought they should build a new middle school. And then, the idea changed to a new elementary school. But, the Board kept circling back to building a new high school because, with all the different alternatives, the existing high school would have to be added onto. And no one thought it was a good idea to add onto the existing high school, according to Williams.

The other alternative was to put modular school units at each school. This alternative was not acceptable to the building committee, according to Williams.

If the November 2023 bond passes, what will be provided?

After going through the various alternatives, the building committee has decided to build a new high school. They have visited several schools, including Green Canyon in Logan, Utah. This building has been constructed five times, and they decided to use it as a template for the proposed high school.

According to Monday night’s presentation, the proposed high school will be constructed so additional classrooms can be added to it in the future.

“We can’t afford those classrooms right now. We will build a high school with a 1000 [student] core capacity. I had heard criticism that when we built Sunrise and Riverview, we said we would build them to add future classrooms onto each wing, which we have space for at each building. In my opinion, the problem is the core area of these buildings cannot handle these additional classrooms,” Williams said.

According to information displayed at the presentation, the proposed high school will include a 600-seat auditorium, upgraded science labs, an extra music room, and a scene shop for the drama club.

The high school will be constructed to use the existing parking lot of the current high school, which will become the new middle school. It will also use the same football field and Ag/CTE building.

“Obviously, nothing is final, but we anticipate sharing the existing parking lot that is already there. We can’t afford a new Ag/CTE building right now and will have to use the existing football field,” Williams said.

Cost of proposed new High School

At the meeting Monday night, the school district presented a 25-year bond. However, since that meeting, they have changed it to a 20-year bond. The cost of the new building is currently $64,800,000. The current bond capacity is $70 million.

The actual tax consequence of the proposed high school is $313 for every $100,000 assessment, above and beyond the homeowner’s exemption.

“The problem with waiting to build a new high school is the construction cost is increasing faster than market value increases,” Williams said. “It would be better for us to build today than wait for tomorrow.”

The data for this article is mainly taken from www.Shelley New HS Bond Presentation: Aug. 2023 and Fast Facts #2: June 2023.

Proposed HS 20-Year Bond
2023 Shelley School District Bond Capacity

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