(Atlantic) A petition is now being circulated directing the Atlantic School Board to hold a Special Election June 25 to vote on an $11-million capital improvement project at the Atlantic Community Schools. The petition must have 400-signatures to take the project to a vote.
Atlantic Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein (pictured) says the reason for the multi-million-dollar project is an increase in student enrollment.
“It is hard to nail it down, but taking a look at the Department of Education’s projection numbers, I think it speaks for positively that Atlantic will continue to increase their enrollment,” stated Amstein.
Since the 2010-2011 school years the district has increased enrollment by 71-students. This spring the class of 2013 will graduate approximately 100-students and this falls’ incoming Kindergarten class will have approximately 150-students. He says over the next four years it is projected that the school system will show an enrollment increase of around 99-new students.
“Each year since I have been here in the spring of 2010, the district has surpassed the Department of Education’s estimated Kindergarten enrollment,” said Amstein.
Amstein says the other issue is that Washington Elementary is overflowing with students. The Maximum student classroom space at the K-3 school is determined to be 380 students, currently there are 525 students and one mobile classroom has been set-up to accommodate the overflow. To address this overcrowding issue the school has leased a mobile classroom that can remain on site for two-years with the district being required to submit a plan to the state addressing a solution for increased instructional space this fall.
The proposal includes a new cafeteria and additional classrooms at Washington Elementary, and eleven additional classrooms at Shuler Elementary, with a possibility of turning it into a 3-through-5 grade facility upon completion. In the plan, a new cafeteria and commons would be built at the Middle School in the space between the gym and the auditorium. In addition seven new classrooms would be built at the high school, expand the art room, new heat pumps at the high school and a new access road at Washington Elementary to help ease the traffic issues there.
Another option would be to build a brand new facility, Amstein said it would cost around $15-$20 million to build a new building, which he admits is not economically feasible.
The districts debt service levy for 2012-2013 is .88-cents/$1,000. The approximate levy rate for an $11-million bond issue is $1.78/$1,000. The debt service levy for the bond for the high school in 1994 was $2.70/$1,000.
April 15, 2013