Community slams six school proposal

We all remember our elementary years: finger-painting in art class, seeing who could swing the highest at recess, testing your survival skills on ‘€œOregon Trail’€, and learning how to add one and one together. The environment and our surroundings were the keys to our learning, as we could not have possibly solved the mystery of how to add and subtract in crowded classrooms or in buildings with desperate need of renovations. Today, elementary students are faced with these obstacles, which caught the attention of the Ames Community School Board.

They recently had the idea to alleviate the crowded classroom sizes and fix up the decaying schools within the district by renovations as well as building a sixth elementary school off of 24th street in Somerset. In order to cover the estimated cost of $65,000,000 to build the new school and complete renovations, residents of Ames would be required to take on additional taxes. All of this would come true if there was a 60% vote in favor of it on the September 13th School Board election. This proposal ignited a fire within the residents of Ames, and people quickly began to take sides, passion for their children’€™s education providing the fuel. Other ideas for finding money to make changes flooded to the surface as the debate began to heat up.

“€œThe board has been told revenue from a state sales tax should be available in 2013. This revenue (sometime referred to as SILO) must be used for school infrastructure costs. The revenue was estimated to be between $3.5 and $4 million a year,” School Board member David Putz said. “€œThe board also has available a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL). This is made up of two parts – one put in place by the board and the other requiring public approval. A local property tax, PPEL funds must be used on infrastructure and cannot be used for things like salaries or supplies.”€

According to the polls, the majority wanted to stick with five schools; 80% ended up voting in favor of five schools while only 20% supported the six school plan. While the idea has been put to rest for the time being, the proposal may be brought up again in six months for reconsideration.