Volunteer committee promoting second school bond election

Pay It Forward CommitteeA committee of volunteers ranging in age from their 20s to 60-plus has formed to work toward the approval of a $19.4 million bond issue proposed by the Greene County Schools. The purpose of the committee, the Pay It Forward Committee, is to help inform the community about the bond issue so voters can make a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision, according to committee co-chair Tanner Lawton.

“The Pay It Forward Committee is a community-run group that is passionate about our county, our communities, our schools, and our kids. We aren’t here to argue, battle, or upset anyone. We just want to help our communities understand the bond and as many details about the school as we can,” Lawton said. “Our parents and grandparents had the courage to undertake the cost of building the buildings we currently have, and we want to pay it forward to the current and next generations of Greene County schoolchildren,” he added.

The Pay It Forward Committee is currently obtaining signatures on a petition to the board of directors of the Greene County Community School District to request the vote for issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount of $19,400,000. The election would be held Sept. 13, on the day set by the Code of Iowa for school elections. The proposal is very similar to the proposal that failed last September.

The bond issue would ultimately enhance the environment for learning in the Greene County district, as well as improve efficiencies that enhance the teaching professionals’ and administrators’ ability to provide quality education for the foreseeable future, Lawton said.

The bond would allow the school district to construct classroom additions, remodel, repair, improve safety and security, and furnish and equip the current pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade building to accommodate pre-K through fourth grade; and construct classroom additions, a performing arts addition and a gymnasium, remodel, repair, improve safety and security, and furnish and equip the current 9th through 12th grade school into a 5th through 12th grade school and administrative offices.

The committee reviewed plans to add 32 additional classrooms, add parental drop off and bus loops that improve safety for children, increase parking at both sites, provide classrooms that have adequate space, lighting, and air exchange to enhance learning, enhance performing arts and athletic facilities, and greatly improve security at all access sites. The plans call for improving and upgrading heating and cooling systems with geothermal to make the high school school a more “green” and environmentally friendly building.

The plan will centralize to two buildings, making for enhanced student ownership of their school. It will result in administrative efficiencies while staff and students will be more closely associated for collaboration. In addition, busing will be simplified with the elimination of shuttles between the multiple schools. These savings can be re-invested into new student opportunities and salary for staff, Lawton said.

Committee members forward to discussing details with anyone and everyone in the school district. The committee can be contacted through a Pay It Forward website and on Facebook, with both pages going live July 1. Committee members will be available to speak at upcoming meetings of community organizations.

Members of the committee are all volunteers from the community and include co-chairs Tanner Lawton and Steve and Julie Karber, Amy Milligan, Bill Monroe, Mark and Wendy Vander Linden, Kate Neese, Zach and Ashely Beekman, Abby McConnell, Ann Ostendorf, Matt Wetrich and Carol Johns. New committee members are welcome.

“We understand there are costs, but believe the future of education for our children is worth these sacrifices. Please keep an open mind and remember to ‘Pay It Forward’ with our children and future children on September 13. This vote needs you,” Lawton said.

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