By an overwhelming margin, Yukon voters approved a pair of bond issues Tuesday that will allow the district to keep up with recent growth.
A $43.6 million bond issue was approved by 74.69 percent of voters. The total was 2,771 for the issue, 939 against.
The money from that bond issue will be used for a variety of projects, including the construction of an elementary/intermediate school that will house students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
The plan, according to Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth, is for the building to be in place by the fall of 2021.
Sixth-grade students currently attend an academy that is located at the Yukon Middle School. However, based on the community’s growth, officials believe a new facility is needed.
Simeroth has said the proposal is to eliminate the academy and have students in those grades attend one of three intermediate schools.
The new building is expected to cost about $28 million. Construction should begin in 2019, said Simeroth.
The bond also will pay for technology upgrades, software licenses and improvements to the district’s buildings ranging from new carpeting and desks to new roofs.
The second bond issue was for $1 million and will be used to purchase new buses.
“We’re just thrilled the community has continued to show support and belief in what we are doing,” Simeroth said Tuesday after the results were announced.
“We will live up the expectations and push for an enriched environment for our kids,” he said.
School Board President Suzanne Cannon agreed.
“I am very grateful to our community for placing an emphasis on the education of our children,” she said.
Cannon said is she not surprised by the support from the community. It’s been more than 40 years since a bond issue was defeated.
“The patrons of the Yukon School District almost always support the schools. They know that we never ask for a bond issue until the previous one is paid off, so there is no effect on the millage. People understand our growth, they know that people are moving to Yukon for our school district. So I’m not surprised,” she said.
“I don’t want to take anything for granted, but I am proud of the support from the community,” Cannon said.
The school district last passed a bond issue in 2008. Money from that bond paid for the construction of the building that houses Yukon High School. It was a 10-year bond issue.
School board members voted to sell $10 million in bonds last month. That sale leaves about $3 million in bonds to be sold on that issue. Simeroth said those bonds would be sold next year, along with the first bonds from the issue approved Tuesday.
That won’t slow the process, however.
Simeroth said the district will begin making plans so once the bonds are sold, officials can move forward quickly.
“We have enough time from the vote to have the best plans in place,” he said.
The next step, Simeroth said, is to begin doing research about what should be included in the building.
Much like the bond issue, which was the result of a number of community meetings and an online survey from district residents, Simeroth said community input will be a key element of developing the new school.
“We wanted the community to be involved. That’s why we had the meetings and the surveys. We took the input from our stakeholders,” he said.
Cannon said that involvement was an important element in the success of the bond issue.
“Everyone was welcome to participate,” she said. “This shows that our community supports education on the local level and they are doing what they can for our kids. This community values education. This community values our students and our teachers. You don’t find that everywhere.”