Although the Longview School Board did not officially vote on a draft bond plan Monday, board members “outlined” what will appear in the draft released next week, said Superintendent Dan Zorn.
That draft will almost certainly include plans to build new, 540-student elementary schools at Mint Valley and Northlake; to renovate Memorial Stadium with artificial turf and a refurbished
grandstand; to expand high school trades programs at R.A. Long and Mark Morris; to upgrade security across the district; and to complete about $8 million of “big-ticket” maintenance projects, such as roof repairs, HVAC updates and flooring replacements in most buildings. In
total, the draft is estimated to cost $114 million.
District officials will present the board with a “final draft plan” at the March 25 board meeting, Zorn said. The presentation will be followed by a public hearing about the bond.
“I’m encouraged by where we are,” Zorn said after Monday night’s meeting. “I think we are on the verge of a good proposal to put before the public.”
It’s still possible for the board to make adjustments to the plan before voting on its final bond package in April, Zorn said. For example, some board members have proposed funding more than $8 million in maintenance projects, while others suggested designing the new Northlake school to accommodate the district's special education preschool classes.
The district is preparing a facilities bond measure for the November election this year. This is the district’s second attempt to pass a facilities bond; it’s last measure, which included $121.6 million of projects, failed marginally at the ballot in November 2017.
Zorn said the most current proposal “covers more surface area” in the district and “benefits more far more students” than the last measure. It’s also less expensive.
Both changes “reflect the input we received after the failure of the bond November 2017,” he said.