Ririe school district to bond in May election | News | postregister.com

2022-06-15 13:06:39 By : Ms. Shuping Xiao

Ririe Joint School District #252 intends to present two separate bonds in the May 17 election, totaling $3 million, for several maintenance and repair items, as well as a new bus barn.

According to the district’s Bond Information Brochure, the district is proposing a $1.5 million construction bond. This bond will allow the district to construct a 60 by 100 foot single slope steel building with three bus bays and one truck bay. If the bond passes, it will be constructed on the site of the current bus facility.

Ririe Superintendent Jeff Gee stated that the proposed amount for this project’s construction also includes the costs for demolishing the existing transportation facility which currently sits on the land.

In an article of the Jefferson Star dated March 9, Gee stated that this bus barn had been included in every bond since he began working for the district in 2019. Each of those bonds failed.

In the article, Gee stated that the current facility is old and too small for their mechanic to perform needed maintenance in an efficient manner. The shop’s ceiling hangs too low, which creates difficulty in lifting vehicles during repairs. The facility also has small doors and makes it difficult to place more than one bus into it at a time.

“If the bond passes,” Gee said at the time, “I think the timeframe for the project will depend on the availability of the material. Ideally, we would start as soon as we can.”

Now, according to their Bond Information Brochure, the district is proposing the transportation facility as a separate bond, and it states that the current transportation facility still has several major structural issues.

Ririe’s second bond, according to the brochure, is a maintenance and equipment bond slated for another $1.5 million. It will focus on maintenance projects which have been putt off for years due to lack of funding and, according to the brochure, can no longer be ignored.

Among these maintenance and repair projects is an upgrade to the Ririe Elementary School’s HVAC system, which according to Gee, is one of the district’s top priorities.

“We want to change out the old steam boiler to a hot water boiler and update the heaters in the classrooms,” Gee said. “When the heat is on, it’s too hot, and when it’s off, it’s too cold. It’s hard to regulate the heat in the classrooms.... We still have the heat on, so some of the teachers are having to open windows to cool their classrooms down.”

Along with updating the HVAC system, the elementary school also requires window and door replacements in the oldest parts of the building, which the district’s information brochure refers to as the “1968 section.”

“That’s the oldest section of the school, the original structure,” Gee said.

The brochure also states the bond will cover a roof repair, parking lot repair, and a playground upgrade to the elementary school, as well as track and sidewalk repairs at Ririe Junior and Senior High School.

“The playground has a gravel base right now,” Gee said. “We want to replace that with artificial turf to make the playground safer for the kids.”

Gee also stated that the district will not be replacing the existing playground equipment. He stated that, if they were to progress to a full-day kindergarten structure, then the elementary school would need to move the preschool to the current music room. Because of this possible change, the bond also proposes creating an outdoor space and preschool playground in the area between the gym and the auditorium.

The district believes, according to the information brochure, that this is a good time to consider bond improvements because of they will be able to take advantage of bond equalization payments from the state. It states that currently, Ririe School District anticipates a 19.36 percent subsidy, which reduces the tax burden on local property owners due an Idaho state-funded program which helps school districts pay their annual bond payments. This means, according to the brochure, that the state will pay for 19 percent of every bond payment that the district makes.

According to Gee, the district will be holding community meetings beginning next month and encourages voters to attend and ask their questions. He stated that this is a good way to come hear all of the information available in order to make informed decisions.

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