The Kearney Public School's board members voted yes tonight for a special bond election and for a levy override. The levies will be voted on by the public in a special election on September 15.
If voters approve the bond levy and levy override, up to $45 million in bonds would be issued to buy land, build two elementary schools, staff them, and renovate existing buildings.
The levy override would let the district exceed the state limit of $1.05 per $100 valuation by up to 10 cents more per $100 for five years.
In discussion before the board voted, members stressed that it is always difficult to ask the public for money, but the new buildings and renovations are a necessity. According to Dr. Brian Maher, District Superintendent, KPS is projecting an enrollment of over 5,000 students this fall - more than ever before.
As of Monday night's meeting KPS had 492 kindergartners registered for the 2009-2010 school year.
Maher said the money from the levies would be used to accomplish many goals in the Master Facilities Plan. He said that since enrollment is projected to be higher, KPS needs to be ready to accommodate capacity, reduce class sizes, increase program space, and care for existing facilities, among other renovations and re-purposing of buildings.
Board member Dave Glover said that all of the data they have looked at and that Maher presented on is important, but not the whole picture.
"These aren't just numbers, these are students," Glover said. "Take a second just to think about it - those aren't just numbers, those are little people."
Before the board voted on the levies, board member Kyle Harshbarger reiterated the board's unanimous feeling that the levies were necessary.
"It's always hard to ask the public for money, but sometimes you just have to do it," he said.
Rosemary Northwall was the only board member not present. The other members - Jim George, Dave Glover, Tim Higgins, Kyle Harshbarger, and Julie Agard - all voted yes on both the bond levy proposal and the levy override proposal.