Elementary Schools Bond FAQs


Why is the district asking for a bond now and not in the future?

One time-sensitive reason for the 2020 Elementary School Bond is growth. One example of growth is the Springfield Pines subdivision. In Phase I, the Springfield Pines development has 128 lots. We anticipate 86 additional kids from this development alone. Most of these homes would have elementary-aged children, according to a formula used by growing districts in the metropolitan Omaha area. The current Springfield Elementary is nearing capacity at most grade levels and over capacity at the kindergarten level. The Springfield Elementary school already has four portable classrooms on-site to handle capacity issues. The three-section school would allow the district room for growth at each grade level.

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What are bonds? How long does it take to pay them off?

Bonds for school projects are very similar to a mortgage on a home. To finance construction projects, the district sells bonds to investors who are then paid principal and interest. Payback on bonds is 20 years.

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How would the district use the bond money?

The district would use the proceeds from the bond issue for the construction and improvements of elementary facilities and the purchase of capital items such as equipment for new kitchens.

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What is a bond election?

A school bond election gives individuals an opportunity to vote on paying for the construction and renovation of school facilities.

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Why is there a bond issue on the upcoming general election ballot on May 12, 2020?

The bond is for a new Springfield Elementary School and improvements to Westmont Elementary School. There are four main reasons for the bond. There is a need for:

  1. Improved safety and security. 
  2. Adequate learning space.
  3. Reliable infrastructure.
  4. Room for expected growth.

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How long is this bond good for?

The bond would be paid back over a 20-year period.

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How much is the proposal bond fund amount?

$28.5 million.

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What happens if the bond resolution does not pass?

Three main issues arise should the bond resolution fail:

  1. Class sizes throughout the district would increase as growth occurs;
  2. To accommodate the growing student populations at buildings with capacity concerns, the district would need to purchase or lease portables. The average cost of purchasing a used portable, transferring it to the building, and connecting electrical and sewer hookups runs $150,000 per portable;
  3. Construction prices continue to rise each year making a future bond likely more expensive.

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Where is the land located for the new Springfield Elementary School building?

Springfield Platteview Community Schools currently owns nearly 10 acres of land in the Springfield Pines subdivision just northeast of the current Springfield Elementary School building. The new building would be on the north side of Main Street.

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Why can’t you just renovate Springfield Elementary School instead of building a new school?

Springfield Elementary was built around 1960. It lacks a strong infrastructure in a variety of areas, utilities included, and education spaces for programs such as Special Education and interventions for kids who are struggling in reading and math. The estimates on renovating and adding on to the building make this option less appealing than building a brand-new building.

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What is the voting timeline?

January 13, 2020, is the first day voters can begin to submit an application for Early Voting Ballot. April 6, 2020, is the first day Early Voting Ballots can be mailed to voters. May 12, 2020, is Election Day.

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How does the bond resolution affect my taxes?

Under the current funding system for a school district in Nebraska, we are able to have a bond with no increase to the overall tax levy. The district is able to do this under the current funding system for school districts in Nebraska. Reasons for no increase to the overall tax levy include anticipated valuation increases from businesses/corporations along Highway 50; an old bond being paid off in 2022; the district's cash reserve back up to acceptable levels (after being part of the common levy in the Learning Community-now removed); and the district now on the positive side of option in/out students (this brings in additional revenue from the state).

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    What would you do with the old Springfield Elementary School building?

    The district would eventually use the old building for district central administration offices. Plans are being made to also use the old building for the City of Springfield administration offices, a community center, adult learning, and educational programming.

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    When would the new Springfield Elementary School building open?

    Construction would start in the fall of 2020, and we expect the school to open in August 2022.

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    When would renovations to Westmont Elementary School be done?

    If the bond is approved, the district will develop a schedule that will have the least impact on the school environment for students, staff, and families.

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    What other facility projects are proposed with this bond?

    The bond dollars would only be allotted to our two elementary schools. The junior high was renovated over a year ago, and the high school classrooms are being renovated a few at a time each summer.

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    What are the benefits to families not directly affected by the bond resolution?

    It is important to remember that all students are directly affected by the construction of new schools, independent of the location of the building construction. New buildings create additional classroom space and allow SPCS to maintain reasonable class sizes while accommodating the growth we are expecting.

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    What are the current tax rates for SPCS and other area school districts?

    2019–2020 tax rates in area school districts per $100 of valuation:

    • Bennington - $1.4298
    • Elkhorn - $1.4130
    • Westside - $1.3824
    • Gretna - $1.4123
    • Papillion - $1.2906
    • Plattsmouth - $1.2166
    • Ralston - $1.2524
    • Omaha - $1.2467
    • Millard - $1.2260
    • Louisville - $1.1673
    • Bellevue - $1.1962
    • DC West - $1.0848
    • Springfield Platteview - $1.0151

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    When was the last successful bond?

    2001 was the last successful bond. This added the main gym, the auditorium, and band room at the high school.
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    When were the Westmont renovations made?

    The renovations were done to classrooms at Westmont Elementary School in the summer of 2016. This was not done through a bond, but through short term financing by the district. The new bond will allow us to complete Westmont's improvements by adding a new gymnasium, new kitchen, new instrumental music, new counseling office, new security entrance, bathroom renovations, and have a separate eating area than the gym.

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    How long have we been trying for a new bond?

    We tried for a bond in 2013 and 2014. The bond lost in May of 2014 with 1010 votes against and 867 for, so it lost by 143 votes.

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    Additional Questions?

    Please email your questions to Nichole Baugh, director of public and community relations.

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    What important dates do I need to remember?

    • April 12, 2020 - Early voting begins in the election office (Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.)
    • May 1, 2020 - Last day to receive an early voting ballot application for ballot
      • Nebraska early voting ballot application
    • May 11, 2020 - Last day for early voting in-person at the election office
    • May 12, 2020 - Primary Election Day! Vote on or before today.

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