Residents of the Carson City-Crystal Area Schools district will be asked on May 6 to decide whether to approve a bond extension in support of school upgrades, technology and security.
The ballot proposal calls for extending the school district’s current debt millage of 4.2 mills for 15 years and nine months to generate almost $11 million. There will be no increase to the school district’s current debt millage.
If approved, funds would go toward the following:
• Safety and security (separating cars, buses and students at the elementary school entrance canopies, replacing broken sidewalks, installing security cameras and vestibules and card access, moving the Central Office to the high school, moving the middle school office closer to the gym entrance and moving the stand-alone weight room from outside into the high school/middle school complex).
• Technology upgrades (almost $1 million in equipment and improvements).
• Energy savings (replacing old units and piping to reduce operating costs and replacing two aging buses to avoid repairs in the near future).
• Healthy environment (replacing some of the district’s oldest equipment to provide better air quality and a better classroom climate).
• Consolidating resources (relocating administration to the high school, selling the current Central Office and demolishing the storage building in order to spend limited resources on fewer buildings and to cut operational costs).
Because this is just an extension — not an increase — of the school district’s current debt millage and because we know the district’s operating budget can’t fill all these crucial needs, we support the Carson City-Crystal bond proposal.
Like all schools, Carson City-Crystal has dealt with some tough situations in recent years, including closing Hubbardston Elementary School in 2005 and Crystal Elementary School in 2010 (both buildings are now flourishing community centers). Since that time, school officials have worked to take advantage of the efficiency that comes with consolidation.
We think closing and selling the Central Office on Main Street and relocating administrative staff to the high school/middle school complex is efficient and smart. We support the idea of making that complex more secure. We like that Superintendent Kevin Murphy wants to be in the same building as students and teachers, where the action is.
Ignoring technology upgrades isn’t an option for schools that want to survive. Currently, about 200 students in the CC-C district choose to attend school elsewhere, while about 100 students from outside the district choose to attend CC-C. School officials are hoping to balance those numbers out and make the school more attractive to students inside and outside the district, as well as to positively impact the learning environment. Technology is a must.
About $5 million — almost half of the bond funds — would go toward Carson City Elementary School, which still sports “pods,” which were a revolutionary style of education half a century ago, but are woefully outdated today. The lack of hallways causes constant interruptions between classrooms. School officials want to remove these pods and create actual hallways and classrooms for a more focused learning environment.
As has been documented in the pages of this newspaper, school officials have done an admirable job of promoting the bond proposal by hosting community forums (one is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at the Crystal Community Center, while another is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 1 at St. John’s Church in Hubbardston) as well as attending local city, township and village meetings. The bond proposal has been presented in an organized and easy-to-understand manner.
School officials have done their research and presented the results. Now it’s time for voters to do their homework.
We encourage a “yes” vote in support of the Carson City-Crystal Area Schools bond proposal.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.