School board explains plant facility levy request

Aberdeen School District trustees met Thursday, Aug. 8, to explain their decision to hold a plant facility levy election. Present at the meeting were Herb Bohrer, Elaine Blik, Todd Lowder and Mike Shackelford. The zone 5 seat is still vacant.
The levy election will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Polls will be open at Aberdeen Legion Hall and Springfield Shop. Trustees are asking for $275,000. The levy is for five years.
Normally, according to superintendent Jane Ward, plant facility levies are for ten years. Because the district bond levy will end in five years they chose to have a five year plant facility levy. After that five years are up and the district has paid off their bond, they will reassess the financial state of the district. At the end of the five years all the buildings in the district will be paid for and they can revisit what the patrons want the schools to look like and how the district can solve the bigger maintenance issues. All plant facility funds will be used to maintain the existing facilities.
“Over the past few years the state hasn’t showered money on us. We have still had to educate our children and continue with those programs for them. Upkeep on the facilities are the first to drop. We want to have the money to fix up the things that have been let slide and then to upkeep once they are fixed,” Bohrer said.
Ward gave a presentation saying that Aberdeen should be proud of their schools. Patrons have always supplied the schools with the funds they needed to operate effectively. She thanked the patrons for that and then pointed out the most obvious example of things that need to be fixed. The welcoming sign at the high school the “HOME OF THE TIGERS” is broken. It currently says “HOMF OF THE TIGERS” The bottom of the “E” is broken. This is just a sign of the effect the recession has had on not only Aberdeen School District, but all school districts, she said.
Because of the recession, schools have lost funds from the state. In 2003-04 schools received $24,447 per unit. Last year the price per unit was $19,706.
“That is a huge decrease in funds,” she said. “Due to that loss many repairs have been ‘put off’ until funding becomes available. Funds are still scarce. Each year we have put off projects that should be fixed in hopes that the money will be given the next year.”
Ward showed some slides of some of the items needing attention in the schools. She showed a picture of a “big item” – the high school boiler. Each year it is inspected by the state safety inspector. At the last inspection the district was told they had to fix it before the next inspection or it would be condemned. That means there would be nothing to heat the high school.
The roof in the high school auditorium has been repaired for years. About six months ago one of the walls in the auditorium was falling down because of the moisture it received from the roof leaking. There is also a leak in the gym and in this particular spot, it is leaking near an electrical box.
The elementary school has heating and cooling problems as well.  According to the “experts” the heat pump system in that building has a life span of approximately 18 years. The elementary school is approximately 38 years old so the units have served the district well, but need to be replaced, said Ward. They freeze up and then leak through the roof. When that happens, garbage cans are placed to catch the leaks and they try to steer the students around the cans.
Other projects that need attention include sidewalk repairs, grounds maintenance such as sprinkler system repairs, softfall placement under playground equipment, painting inside and outside of the buildings, lighting in the high school gym, arctic doors in the cafeteria, refinishing the seats in the high school auditorium, intercom systems replaced in the elementary and high school, new servers for all buildings, carpet and desk rotation in all buildings, and new cleaning equipment.
Children can’t play on the playground equipment if the black base is showing through the softfall. This year the district has ordered one-third of what they need but that will get them by. They need to put more in every year.
They would also like to include a professional maintenance person, someone who is certified in electrical and/or heating and air conditioning maintenance. This person would help defray the costs of what the district is paying for an outside vender to come to the school and do the work.
Over the five years they hope to accomplish the following: boiler repairs ($30,000), three heat pumps ($30,000), roof repairs ($53,000), custodial equipment ($35,000), desks, chairs and tables ($31,000), snow removal equipment ($15,000), locks on main doors ($14,000), and professional maintenance person $67,000 – $50,000 is for salary). That totals $275,000.
The district wants to put in a new key system like hotels have. They have problems with people getting in that aren’t suppose to be in the building. With a new key system, they can void the keys that aren’t returned. They also need to have locks on the inside of the classroom doors so, if an emergency arises, the teachers can lock the doors from the inside rather than having to go out into the hall to lock the doors.
The district has set up a five year plan. Other projects not listed above include: replacing all the heat pumps (the three listed in the money are only the worst of the pumps), carpet rotation, district office heating and cooling, more outside lighting, high school track repair and maintenance, network cabling and electrical outlets in the elementary and high school, emergency lighting in the classrooms, security cameras and servers (they can only hold information for two days), and replace the “E” in the high school entry.
It will depend on the cost of the items as to whether they can do them all.
School district business manager Frank Dye reviewed the cost of the levy to the taxpayers. He said the property owner of an $80,000 home would pay about $48.84 per year. The levy would cost about eight cents per acre of farm ground. (See tables below)
Ward said each year they have a building inspection. Through this inspection they are given areas that must be addressed.  If items come up that are not on the presented list, but need to be addressed the levy funds may be used. When those things arise from the inspection, the district has one year to fix the problem.
“Aberdeen School District is dedicated to learning and teaching for success. It is our hope that you, as taxpayers, will feel it important to provide the funds to maintain our buildings as they have been in the past for years to come,” Ward said.
Bohrer emphasized that these problems are not because of poor maintenance. The Aberdeen staff is amazing. They work hard to keep things up and have done some amazing things with what they have to work with, he said.
Blik said it is really important that they stay positive when visiting with the community. She asked everyone to tell them if they have any questions to call the district office. Bohrer added they will even give a person a tour of the buildings if they would like one.
2013-2014 PLANT FACILITIES LEVY CALCULATIONS:
ABERDEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Plant Facilities Levy Tax Total Assessed Tax on Tax Per $1000
Levy Amount Rate Market Valuation $80,000 House Assessed Property
(See***below) (See*below) See** below
$275,000 .001221 $225,200,785 $48.84 $.04884
(Sept. 2012)
* $80,000 assessed value on home minus homeowner’s exemption – $40,000 taxable property. (homeowner’s exemption = 50% of 1st home up to the value of $202,506)
** To figure your agricultural property taxes, divide your assessed value by 1000 & multiply the result by the amount of this column.
*** This amount usually increases each year which would result in a lower tax rate next year (This Market Value is calculated each September by the State Tax Commission and disseminated by Bingham County).
Farm Ground (assessed in the district at approx 1/3 real value)
Actual  Value Assessed Value Increase Tax/Acre
Per Acre Per Acre
Highest Valued Land $5,400 $1,800 Div by 1000
= 1.80 x (.04884)
$(0.087912)
Lowest Valued Land $2,000 $660 Div by 1000
= 0.66 x (.04884)
$(0.032234)

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