Springfield Public Schools are once again asking voters to approve a bond to fund improvements to the district's aging schools. Last year, a similar measure was defeated by just 446 votes. This time, backers say they’ve made some changes to Measure 20-226.
The district asked voters why they said no last year to a school bond measure. Springfield Schools spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge says the previous bond focused mainly on funding a new Hamlin Middle School.
Ashbridge: "There are two big differences based on what we heard from our community last year. The first is that people wanted all schools to benefit and with this proposal every school in Springfield would receive improvements so all of our students would see a benefit. The second thing we heard from our community is that we needed to lower the cost to taxpayers."
Ashbridge says the district was able to reduce the cost because it has paid off a previous bond. This year's bond is estimated to cost an additional 27 cents per thousand assessed value. She says the average cost to a homeowner would be about $38 a year. Another question from voters was why Hamlin Middle School needs to be replaced-- not renovated.
Ashbridge: "And we weren’t able to answer that question for people last year. and so, since then we've had an independent architect come out and thoroughly evaluate the Hamlin building and tell us what it would take to renovate that facility, solve the major issues that it has and make sure that it lasts our community another 30 to 40 years."
Ashbridge says the architect found it would cost $10 million more to renovate Hamlin than to replace it. The bond would raise $71.5 million. There is no organized opposition.
Springfield is holding an open house on the bond measure Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 at Hamlin Middle School.