Jackson Northwest Schools Proposes $40 Million in Bonds

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As a fifth grade teacher at Northwest Elementary, Tara Robinson knows all too well about the building's issues.

"Roofs leaking, bathrooms overflowing, heat not working...," she said.

Those problems aren't unique to Northwest Elementary, they're in every building in Northwest Community Schools. The district hopes to fix those issues and more with two bond proposals, announced Wednesday night.

"We need this...and I stress 'need' this to go through for the good of Northwest Community Schools," said Superintendent Geoff Bontrager.

Bontrager says, the first bond proposal, titled 'Safe, Warm and Dry' would address the basic needs of every building, some of which haven't been upgraded in more than 50 years.

"Heating and cooling, electrical, mechanical...those types of inner-building needs," he said.

The nearly $30 million proposal would also build more secure entry ways for safety and an entirely new building to replace the outdated Parnall Elementary.

"The amount of money needed to renovate that was really equivalent to almost building a new building," said Bontrager.

Dan Griswold, Chair of the Bond Committee, says now the focus is getting community support.

"It's something we really need to do for the schools," he said. "If you get involved in this, you will definitely see what needs to be done and you will definitely be out there working for it."

The district has had trouble passing bonds in the past, so they will hold community bond meetings on March 21, April 11 and 25 to help raise awareness on the issues.

The bonds will be voted on on May 7th. If voted through, they will increase taxes based on a home's taxable value. For example a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would see a $16 tax increase for both proposals.

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