G-R moves another step forward in bond referendum process

First of three public information meetings set for Tuesday, July 26

G-R school board member Douglas Rowe (left) examines special election petition papers during the board’s July 19 regular meeting in the Jr. High/High School commons in Reinbeck. Board member Susie Petersen (right) is also pictured. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck school board took another step forward Tuesday night in the process to hold a bond referendum by successfully collecting more than enough petition signatures and subsequently adopting a resolution to order a special election for Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The petition garnered 172 signatures – 42 more than the required 130 – according to G-R Superintendent Erik Smith who presented the petition to the board during the regular July meeting held in the Jr. High/High School commons in Reinbeck.

The petition’s verbiage calls for a special election to submit to the voters of the G-R Community School District a proposition that would authorize the school board to “contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $23,605,000 to be used together with proceeds of School Infrastructure Sales, Service, and Use Tax Revenue Bonds to provide funds to build, furnish, and equip additions to and to remodel, repair, improve, furnish, and equip District facilities, including related site improvements.”

All members present – board president Donovan Devore was absent – examined the petition and its signatures before a roll call vote was conducted on the resolution to order a special election for $23.605 million in general school obligation bonds.

The resolution was adopted unanimously by those board members present which included Rod Brockett, Christine Farley, Susie Petersen, Douglas Rowe, Lisa Swanson, and Matt Wyatt.

Following the special election resolution, the board adopted a second resolution fixing the date for a public hearing on the proposed issuance of $8.25 million in school infrastructure revenue bonds – also known as SAVE bonds which use state sales/use tax revenue for either school infrastructure spending or property tax relief – which would be combined with the special election general obligation bond to fund the district’s planned facility improvements.

The second resolution was also adopted unanimously with the public hearing for the SAVE bonds set for Thursday, August 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Jr. High/High School commons.

In order to pass, G-R’s special election bond referendum must be approved by at least 60 percent of those voting in the election – a supermajority. The funds will enable the district to address its most pressing facility needs, according to the district’s website. Upgrades would include HVAC system upgrades in both buildings, making every restroom and floor level handicap accessible, a gym expansion at the Jr./Sr. High School, classroom additions to the elementary school, secured entry in both buildings, and renovations and updates in both buildings.

The district further states on it website that “an approved bond would have a property tax impact of $199.58 annually ($16.63 per month) on a home assessed at $100,000. For agricultural land, the impact would be anywhere from $5.36 to $6.62 per acre annually, depending on the location in Tama, Black Hawk, Grundy, or Marshall County.”

Three informational meetings are in the works for the public to learn more about the district’s facility needs and the special election. The first is set for Tuesday, July 26, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Jr. High/High School auditorium. The meeting will include a tour of the building as well as a Q&A.

The second meeting is tentatively planned to take place in Gladbrook at the end of August but no further details were shared by superintendent Smith during the July 19 meeting.

Each of the three meetings will address different aspects of the project and the special election, according to Smith.

Superintendent report

During his report to the board later in the meeting, Smith was asked by member Douglas Rowe if he had an update on the demolition of the Gladbrook school buildings which began earlier this summer. Smith replied that he did not have an update but that the demolition continues.

When asked by the Sun Courier following the meeting if any decision had been made in regards to future plans for the former Gladbrook school site once demolition is complete, Smith said no decisions had been made on the issue as of that evening.