CL School Board gives approval for March 2020 bond vote

By Marianne Gasaway

Clear Lake School Board members have given Superintendent Doug Gee unanimous approval to pursue a $17 million bond vote in March 2020.

Gee reviewed finances with the Board at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 29.  His projections showed that the Board could pursue a bond issue as large as 21 percent without raising the school tax rate of $10.39 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.  However, board members agreed they were more comfortable with a $17 million bond.

“Ultimately, we are in a really good spot,” said the school leader.  “Enrollment has continued to increase, taxable valuations in the community are strong, several building projects have been completed in the school district using SAVE monies, our administrative fund is growing, and donations and grants have provided a good stream of miscellaneous income.”

Gee said the district’s unspent balance at the end of the year will be 18 percent and his projections have that number growing to 32 percent by 2025.  Experts recommend school districts spend close to their revenue and consider 5 to 15 percent unspent balance to be acceptable.

“We are not spending all the revenue we are taking in.  I feel good about 18 percent. It’s a comfortable spot to be in,” Gee told the Board.

The major component of the  $17 million school bond will be a proposed community wellness center which the City of Clear Lake will partner to build and operate.  The center would be built as an addition to the high school building and provide additional gymnasium spaces, as well as an elevated track as its key features.  The city has verbally committed $700,000 to the project, mostly directed to infrastructure.

The School District is currently in the process of developing a building plan with Atura Architecture, of Clear Lake, incorporating the most popular and feasible ideas gained through community meetings and a survey.  Strong support for the wellness center encouraged the school district and city to proceed.

The phased approach will be taken for the center, with future phases possibly including a swimming pool.  Gee noted the City of Clear Lake would be the entity to pursue and fund a pool.

The city and school district would construct the wellness center under a 28E agreement.  The school district will fund the first phase and lease the facility to the city for $1.  The city would staff and operate the wellness center.

In addition to the wellness center, the bond issue which will be put to voters in March 2020 will include projects at each school building, as well as Lions Field.

At Clear Creek Elementary, modifications to the main entry are proposed which will make the entrance more secure.

The commons area at Clear Lake Middle School would be expanded and a new entrance created for

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