Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WELLMAN — The push has begun in the Mid-Prairie school district to gather enough signatures to bring a bond issue before voters as early as March 1.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Mark Schneider said that a petition is circulating throughout the community.
“We need 25% of the number of people who voted in the last election,” Schneider said. “We need 725, but you always like to get extra. So, the goal is 850, which is probably more than what we need.
“It’s just 850 people who live in the district that are 18 years and older. They didn’t have to vote in the last election, but they have to be potential electors.”
The bond, if approved, would fund a $37.62 million facility plan, which includes new classrooms at East Elementary, the middle school and the high school, as well as a 600-seat auditorium at the high school.
Other parts of the proposed project include a new middle school gym, renovation of the current middle school gym into additional classrooms, a new wrestling and weight facility at the high school, new lights at the softball field, resurfacing the high school track and parking lot improvements at both elementary schools and the high school.
Schneider said that the 850-signature target gives the district some leeway.
“We would like 850, because I know there might be people who sign it who aren’t 18 or there might be people who sign it who don’t live in the district,” he said. “If we just get 725 and have 25 that don’t live in the district, it wouldn’t be a valid petition”
Schneider pointed out that the minimum 725 signatures is a tall task compared to what was needed for the district’s last bond issue in 2014, when only 89 signatures were needed.
He said that signing the petition does not necessarily translate to support for the bond issue.
“Signing the petition doesn’t mean that you’re going to vote yes,” he explained. “It just means that you believe the issue ought to be put before the voters in the district.”
A Jan. 5 deadline was set to gather the necessary signatures, which would give the district time to certify the signatures before the Jan. 10 school board meeting.
“We’re doing it in a holiday month,” Schneider said. “It’s not going to be an easy task.
“The school board will consider it on the tenth whether they want to put it on the ballot on March 1 or in September.”