PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF BCLUW SCHOOLS
While BCLUW Schools have been well-maintained and have educated generations of our community’s children, there are significant facility needs that go beyond what the school district’s operational budget can cover on its own.
On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, our community will vote on a proposed $8.8 million bond issue. If it receives at least 60% voter approval, BCLUW will move ahead on a series of improvement projects at our elementary and high school buildings.
SUSTAINING OUR SCHOOLS
Over the past year, BCLUW has engaged in a facilities review and master planning process with an architectural firm. We have also closely examined the past and ongoing effects of declining student enrollment—a common reality for rural Iowa school districts like ours.
Based on this process, the Board of Directors is proposing a series of updates and new features at our elementary and high school. These improvements would help facilitate BCLUW's transition to a two-campus format within the next several years. District leaders and the board believe this is the best path forward for BCLUW to remain a strong and viable rural school district well into the future.
On November 7, residents will consider a $8.8 million bond issue for improvements at the elementary and high school buildings in Conrad.
New commons and kitchen to have the gym/physical education area separate from the commons/cafeteria space
New secure entrance, classroom, and office spaces
Remodel of existing office area into conference and support room spaces
Modification of existing driveway/parking area to include separate parent and bus drop-off locations
New secure entrance and office spaces
New Career and Technical classroom spaces, including a new Agricultural Sciences room, along with additional classroom space for junior high programs
Addition of locker rooms and restrooms to the northeast end of the high school, accessible to the football field/track area
Renovations to the high school auditorium and concessions area
Addition of a gym and lobby area to the west end of the high school, primarily to facilitate physical education and junior high/junior varsity practices and games, as well as multi-gym tournaments for all levels.
The Board of Directors has expressed a desire to keep portions of the middle school facility—including the gym, cafeteria, library, and office areas—maintained for up to five years after any potential building closure to explore future partnerships or the transfer of property to the city/community.
This may also involve a partial demolition of the current facility’s main classroom wings, a project that would be funded through sales tax bonds (rather than the proposed November GO bond).
In addition to the bond issue, the plan would leverage $4.6 million in one-cent statewide sales tax funds (SAVE). This would not affect the district’s property tax levy.
PROPERTY TAX IMPACT
An approved bond issue would have a property tax impact of $1.95 per $1,000 of taxable property value. However, the tax impact would be partially offset by a management levy reduction from $1.10 to $0.40, which would reduce the “real impact” for those years by about 35%. This would essentially amount to an impact of $1.25 per $1,000 of taxable property value for an approved bond issue.