Mead Schools hoping voters pass $69.5m facilities improvement bond

Mead Schools hoping voters pass $69.5m facilities improvement bond

February is a critical month for dozens of local schools as voters will be asked to pass school bonds and levies throughout the Inland Northwest.

The vote is especially important in the Mead School District, which has been dealing with classroom overcrowding for years. The district’s 20-year facilities improvement bond is $69.5 million and will cost homeowners an estimated $76 a year on a $100,000 home.

Mead is one of the biggest school districts in the state and, as more people move there specifically to attend Mead schools, the schools are getting more crowded all the time. The anticipation is the district will hit capacity and they won’t be prepared and that’s why they’re asking for money.

“We simply just don’t have the space,” Kevin Peterson, principal of Midway Elementary, said.

With new state requirements of smaller class sizes, and new learning standards, Peterson said he is running out of room, forcing them to become creative. In one case, a class of 10 students students are learning math in a classroom that was converted from an old storage room.

Peterson hopes voters in the Mead School District will vote to spend the money to upgrade Midway and several others.

“One of the pieces of the bond would be adding some brick and mortar class rooms to our buildings at Shilo and Midway in order to accommodate some future growth,” Peterson said.

The bond would also replace the 56-year-old Northwood Middle School.

Along with infrastructure improvements, director of student services Jared Hoadley says school security would also be improved.

“We hope to have some video surveillance of our buildings,” Hoadley said. “We hope to just improve a lot of security like doors, and locks and so fourth so we can make our buildings secure and unfortunately we live in a time where that is necessary.”

Right now, 9,000 students attend schools in the Mead district and this year enrollment grew by 200, and the district expects enrollment will keep growing over the next several years they hope a yes vote now will help ease the crunch in the future.

“We know if the growth continues we are going to have to do something and so we are planning ahead,” Hoadley said.

There’s also a levy on the ballot that, if passed, would be a continuation of a current one that pays for about a quarter of the district’s operations and maintenance.

Ballots are due by February 10.