Hamilton residents gave a vote of approval to the efforts of the Hamilton School District Thursday, agreeing to invest in students with a $9.75 million dollar bond and a $400,000 general fund levy.
The final vote tally shows the bond proposal passed with more than 600 votes to spare, 2,754 in favor to 2,108 against. The levy passed by only 81 votes, with 2,483 for and 2,402 against.
Superintendent Tom Korst said the district is grateful for the support and trust.
“We are excited to begin implementing the approved initiatives and we look forward to working with the community,” he said. “Thank you again to everyone involved. We are relieved that the district can continue to do great things for the students and Hamilton community.”
Korst said building projects should begin next spring. He hopes students in grades K-4 will have remodeled and new classrooms at Daly Elementary by the fall of 2019. The sports complex at the high school could be done by the fall of 2018.
“That’s the goal,” Korst said. “There’s a high probability that we can begin the sports complex next spring whenever the ground is ready. We can finish that project quickly because we don’t have to work around classes.”
Board member Demaris Moore said, “Educating our children is a community effort every day and we appreciate your partnership.”
“We will continue to make the best decisions we can to serve our students and community, hopefully making the voters proud of their school district,” she said. “The passing of the levy and bond will help us preserve the quality of education we strive to achieve every day, as well as striving to improve our education system beyond state and federal requirements.”
The levy is a permanent addition to the general fund and will meet the $700,000 budget shortfall predicted by Korst after the board’s reduction of expenses through attrition and budget cuts of $300,000. The board said the levy will be used to retain quality educational programs.
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The board said the building projects had been under discussion for nearly 20 years. They selected this year to place it in front of the voters because the current high school bond will be retired in 2018 and businesses and home owners would not see an increase in taxes.
The building bond could run for 30 years.
The bond will cover Daly Elementary School renovations and additions of new classrooms. Students at Washington Primary School would attend the expanded Daly campus.
A new gymnasium, an upgraded kitchen, and heating and ventilation systems improvements are also in the plans for Daly. A library would be added if construction bids come in low on the other projects.
The sports facility at the Hamilton High School campus will include football and track fields, bleachers, concessions, restrooms and, possibly, tennis courts.
Board member Patrick Hanley said he is proud the community supports education and student needs.
“Thank you to the entire Hamilton community for supporting and entrusting the Hamilton School District to provide the best educational possibilities to our next generation,” he said.
Hanley said the supportive votes provide the school district with the ability to continue excellence.
“I know that, with this vote of confidence, everyone associated with the schools will be working diligently to meet Hamilton’s expectations,” Hanley said. “Truly, this is not just a win for the schools but the entire community, for the present and the future.”