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Common Ground for Washington Schools Frequently Asked Questions 1. What will be included with respect to improvements with the funds raised by the combination $2.70/$1,000 levy and sales tax revenue bond? The 1-5 year plan with the proceeds from the sales tax bond and the $2.70/$1,000 general obligation bond will include funds for a new 110,000 SF high school to be constructed adjacent to the existing Junior High at an estimated cost of $16.5 million, complete renovation of the existing High School building with future intended use as the middle school (grades 6-8) at an estimated cost of $7.2 million, and renovation of the older areas of both Stewart and Lincoln Elementary buildings at an estimated cost of $2.75 million each. 2. What improvements will not be included in years 1-5? The following improvements are slated for years 6-10 and, if needed, may require an additional bond levy: The existing Junior High building would not be completely updated, a new bus barn facility would not be immediately built/acquired, and the existing administration building would not be updated in the 1-5 year segment of the plan. 3. Why is the existing high school "suddenly worth renovating?" a. There would be no renovation/construction while students are in the building. b. Middle school age students are better suited for the slightly smaller classrooms in the existing High School building. c. Parking constraints are eased as middle school aged students do not drive. d. The existing High School is centrally located making it easier for students to walk/bike to school. e. There is no addition planned on what is a tight site. 4.

What will be the extent of the renovations to the existing High School? Improvements would include a new electrical system, new HVAC system with possibility of geothermal, web-based energy control systems, new windows and doors, new roof system, tuck pointing and sealing of exterior masonry, entirely remodeled classroom with new finishes and fixtures, new plumbing fixtures and valves, a remodeled auditorium including finishes and seating, expanded kitchen facility, security and card access system, new technology wiring, high efficiency lighting, improved stairwells and fire safety measures, and removal of portable units.


How large will the gym be on the proposed high school? The ICAT plan proposes an 8,000 SF gymnasium with a 1,000 person capacity.

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What is the square footage of the existing high school vs. the proposed square footage of the new high school? The existing High School totals approximately 91,450 SF while the proposed new high school would include 110,000 SF and utilize approximately 23,000 SF of the existing Junior High building.

7. Specifically, where will the new high school be located relative to the existing Junior High? The new high school will either be located adjacent to the south of the existing Junior High if the Berdo property is acquired or adjacent to the west of the existing Junior High if the Marie property is acquired. If located to the south, it is anticipated that the City will partially vacate Sitler Drive allowing for a new structure to abut the existing Junior High building. 8.

How will the old Junior High/new high school Annex be used once all students are gone? The south end of the existing Junior High building (approximately 23,000 SF) will be extensively used, including the existing gym as a second/practice gym, existing industrial arts facilities, and current music room as a Vocational Agriculture classroom will be used for education space. Ultimately, administration functions would also move to the existing Junior High building. The classroom areas of the existing Junior High will be targeted for the Assure Center, storage, and would also be available for expanded educational offerings and regional academy classes.


Will there be an architect's rendering available for review prior to the vote? A conceptual drawing and site plan will be made available. The specific design of the building will be community input driven.

10. Have architects been interviewed, hired, or considered? No architect has been hired. However, the recently formed Facilities Action Committee will begin this process shortly. It is preferable to have an agreed upon budget prior to engaging an architect. The architect (or architects) will design a structure within the confines of a fixed budget. 11. If the bond passes when will construction begin? Ideally, construction on the new high school would begin in the fall of 2010 with occupancy by either the fall term 2012, or spring term 2013. 12. How long will it take to complete all of the planned improvements? Assuming passage of the September 8, 2009 bond measure, occupancy of the new high school would be targeted for either fall term 2012 or spring term 2013. Immediately upon occupancy of the new high school renovation of the existing High School would commence and would last an estimated 15 months. Upon completion this building would be occupied as the new Middle School. Renovation of both Stewart and Lincoln Elementary buildings would likely take three summers to complete both buildings, with a target completion date of 2015 or before. 13. Will the district properly care for and maintain the improvements? The newly formed Facilities Committee recently appointed by the School Board was formed specifically with this goal in mind.

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14. How can we be certain that the board/district will follow the planned improvements as set forth in the ICAT report? The language in the bond issue is very specific with respect to use of the proceeds. Further, the District does not have the funds to accomplish anything else other than what is set forth in the ICAT plan. 15. What will be the cost of the street improvements around the new school? Who will bear that cost? Interior streets and parking are included in the construction budget. Off-site improvements (streets, sewer, utilities) will likely be the responsibility of the City. Federal and/or state grants are also likely to be sought. 16. What are the estimated real tax implications for homes with the following assessments - assuming a 50% rollback: a. $50,000 b. $100,000 c. $150,000 -

$ 67.50 annually, $135.00 annually, $202.50 annually,

$ 33.75 semi-annually, $ 67.50 semi-annually, $101.25 semi-annually,

or $ 5.63 monthly or $11.25 monthly or $16.88 monthly

17. What are the estimated per acre real estate tax implications for farmland with the following CSR levels @ assessment of $11.86/CSR point - assuming a 30% rollback: a. 50 Average CSR b. 70 Average CSR c. 90 Average CSR -

$1.12/acre per year, $ 89.60 per 80 acres $1.57/acre per year, $125.53 per 80 acres $2.02/acre per year, $161.39 per 80 acres

18. Is the $2.70 levy based on taxable value or actual assessed value? The proposed levy is based on TAXABLE value, which is approximately 50% lower for single family residential properties due to state mandated real estate tax rollbacks. Commercial and industrial properties have historically not received rollbacks. Ag land has historically not received any rollback. However, following a 40%+ increase in valuation for tax year 2009-2010 it is anticipated that there may be some tax rollback for ag land. While the exact amount has yet to be determined, for illustration purposes a 30% rollback is assumed in the RE tax calculations for ag land based on information received from Washington County officials. 19. Will the public eventually be asked to approve the $4.05/$1,000 levy in order to complete all of the planned improvements? Only if needed. Sale tax revenues have been conservatively estimated. If revenues exceed expectations it is possible that an additional bond levy may not be needed. If the $4.05/$1,000 levy is needed it would not be requested until the $1.58/$1,000 General Fund levy passed the School Board in 2009 rolls off in either 2015 or 2016 upon replenishment of the District's General Fund. 20. Why is the 90 acre site north of town not being sold to help offset the cost? As part of this process this site will either be sold or traded in order to acquire a site adjacent to the existing Junior High.

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21. If the district is successful in obtaining grant money to retrofit the elementary schools with geothermal heating/cooling as Superintendant Sextro has alluded to with these grants offset the proposed renovation budget for these buildings, or will the same amount be spent on other improvements? The sources of funding being pursued by the District primarily consist of either low or no interest loans. The funds will require repayment, but to the extent there are interest savings this will reduce the cost to taxpayers. 22. Why is the estimated cost of a new bus barn facility so high? It assumes that a site will need to be acquired, and a new structure will be built. The estimate was intended to be a "worst case" scenario. 23. The plan says the bus maintenance facility is, "inadequate and needs replaced." Can it hold up for another five years? If not, how is that going to be paid for? What happens if the next phase doesn't pass in five years? A newly acquired or constructed bus maintenance facility is slated for Years 6-10 and it is expected that the existing bus maintenance facility will function until such time that it can be replaced. 24. Likewise with the existing Junior High - how will the lack of renovation affect the condition of the building? What will happen to the upkeep if the next bond measure is not passed? The existing Junior High will be maintained appropriately until such time that the funds are available to fully renovate and update the building. 25. What is the regional high school/regional academy concept? There is no expectation that any neighboring district will close or otherwise be forced to consolidate with any other school district. However, it is expected that neighboring districts may need to share programming with larger districts such as the Washington Community School District. At present, WACO vocational ag students are transported to Washington for FFA classes. Going forward it is anticipated that similar arrangements will become commonplace around the state of Iowa particularly with respect to the subjects of math and science - both due to state mandates regarding programming every district must offer, as well as the difficulty in finding math and science educators. Further, smaller districts face challenges in providing advanced programming offerings. The ICAT plan provides space for such programming needs and better aligns the district to be in a position to host students from neighboring districts as educational trends continue to evolve.

For more information contact: Joe McConnell ...... www.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

A brochure with FAQs about the Sept. 8th school bond vote.

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