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Kelly Flege

Kelly Flege W-SR School Board

On Tuesday, March 2, Waverly-Shell Rock residents will vote on a bond issue that, if approved, will result in the building of two elementary schools in Waverly and making key improvements to Shell Rock Elementary School and W-SR High School.

The solution on the ballot is based on recommendations from our Facility Task Force, made up of community members from Waverly and Shell Rock. The task force spent several months examining and discussing the district’s facilities challenges and considering potential solutions.

In December 2020, the task force wrapped up its work by presenting its recommendations to the Board of Education. The Board then approved a motion to use the recommendation to address the district’s needs.

The district has identified two potential sites for the new elementary schools. One is a property located on the city’s northeast side along Horton Road, south of St. Mary Catholic Church and across from the Hind’s addition. The other is just west of the CUNA Mutual property.

While there are no perfect sites that would meet the needs and desires of everyone in our community, we believe those we have identified will serve our students, district and community very well. We decided on the sites after careful consideration and reviewing a range of factors, including appropriate surrounding land use, zoning, site development considerations, emergency response time, proximity to potential hazards, adequacy of infrastructure, access, being outside of the floodplain, traffic control, parking and site size.

Road access and safety are key components of the evaluation process and will continue with the development of the sites.

If approved March 2, the bond issue would offer a net-zero property tax rate solution for the community. Borrowing would not exceed the current property tax levy of $2.70. Approval of the bond issue would extend this tax levy for an additional 15-20 years, depending on the ability to pay down early, as has been done with the debt for the middle school. Approving the bond now allows the district to take advantage of reduced interest rates, which may not be this low for some time, thereby generating more funds towards the cost of construction and less to interest.

W-SR’s facility needs stem from recent growth in our school district. Our facilities are also aging. W-SR’s four elementary schools and high school all have portions of their buildings that are nearing the end of their usable lifespan if they do not receive significant investments.

The Board and district administration remain committed to open and transparent communication as we approach election day. More information on the district’s needs and the solution on the ballot is available at www.wsrfacilities.org.

Kelly Flege is the president of the Waverly-Shell Rock Board of Education.

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