Approved bond would address key facility needs in North Tama Schools

North Tama County Community School District. TELEGRAPH FILE PHOTO

On Tuesday, March 7, residents of the North Tama County Community School District will vote on a bond issue. If it is approved, the district will move ahead on a series of key facility projects to address our schools’ most significant needs.

The proposed projects include an east side addition with new high school classrooms and collaboration spaces, along with secure entry upgrades and other security improvements. There would also be an athletic area reconfiguration to provide accessible routes and weight room expansion. The district would also conduct selective maintenance (including HVAC and electrical) in other areas of its facilities.

If we do not address these needs soon, the outstanding schools our community members have come to expect could be jeopardized. We believe the time has come to address our facility needs to ensure students continue to have access to the resources and spaces they need to be successful.

The North Tama County School Board decided to move forward on this plan based on a comprehensive study of all district buildings and facilities, conducted in 2021. The results of a recent community-wide survey were also critical to the solution the board is now proposing to our community.

Through that survey, more than 78 percent of respondents indicated they agreed or strongly agreed that the school district’s most urgent facility needs should be addressed now. Community members also shared that they would like to see a well thought-out plan to address the needs, that the district should look to keep costs as low as possible, and that the district should focus first and foremost on the most urgent needs.

The board took the study and the survey results to create a plan that balances the needs of our students with those of our property taxpayers. If the bond is approved, the maximum possible impact on a home assessed at $100,000 would be $209.15 per year (or $17.43 per month). The tax impact on a typical 40-acre field of farmland would be $221.65 per year ($18.47 per month).

Over the years, the district and board have been responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and have looked for ways to reduce the impact on taxpayers as we maintain our facilities. However, we are at a point at which we cannot delay addressing our facility needs any longer.

To help share as much information as possible and to answer community members’ questions about the facility needs and proposed solution, the district has established a website, at www.northtamaplanning.org. We encourage our community members to visit this site to learn more and browse answers to frequently asked questions.

As your duly elected school board, we appreciate the engagement of our community around these important issues for the future of our local schools.

Rod Zobel is president of the North Tama County School Board.