Benton-CSD-March-7-2023-Bond-Referendum

How many students would attend? PK-6th Elementary in Van Horne

Virtual Public Information Session - Held - Dec. 12, 2022

See below for links to the recorded session and slide show.

Link to the recording from the Dec. 12, 2022 Virtual Information Session - Click HERE (video begins 11:56 min. into the clip)

Link to the slide show - click HERE

Public Information Sessions 2

IN THE NEWS

Watch our new video!

UPDATES

  • Visual posters and diagrams, including our information handouts will be provided at many of our scheduled school events and activities.

  • Stay tuned for announcements on radio stations, television, newspaper (Cedar Valley Times), and social media.

LEARN MORE

Frequently Asked Questions
Submit your questions to be answered in our FAQ. Responses posted here, updated weekly. A Spanish translated copy may be found here.

Facts Sheet
Get the facts on the March 7, 2023 General Obligation Bond here.

A Spanish version of the Facts Sheet is linked here.

Tax Calculator

Use our tax calculator (linked above) to understand how your taxes may change. (Please reach out to Central Office if you have any trouble with the calculator or would like support in figuring.)

Presentation
You can find the information shared in the presentation at the Public Information Sessions linked here.

Information provided - at our already scheduled school events and activities

  • Dec. 15, 2022 - visuals, handouts at wrestling meet

  • Dec. 16, 2022 - 2 Board members share information and available for questions at the basketball games, 5:00 p.m.

  • Dec. 19, 2022 - Holiday Java, posters, visuals, and handouts available

  • Jan. 7, 2023 - Wrestling Invitational, posters, visuals, handouts available

  • Feb. 8, 2023 - at Preschool & Kdg. registration: posters, visuals, & handouts, ask any Administrator questions

improvements-for-21st-century-learning-environments

Benton’s Facilities Study Advisory Committee began in 2020 and participated in a year-long study of facilities, including brainstorming and scoping work sessions, surveys and prioritization exercises.

A diverse group of 35 volunteers representing the viewpoints of community members, staff, and students participated. Through the process, the Committee completed a robust evaluation of the information and helped create suggestions for current improvement needs for the District’s facilities. The school board unpacked the information, data, and recommendations provided by the FSAC committee to determine the main priorities aligned with funding possibilities.

The school board will continue to develop a long-range facilities plan based on these needs to provide our students with 21st-Century Learning Environments. The goal is to provide modern, safe, and equitable facilities that are sustainable for staff, students, and families. The improvements will set the foundation for the district to offer robust academic and extracurricular activities and rewarding experiences for students, staff, and families while being fiscally responsible in our decisions.

The Benton Community School District is proposing a $48.5 million general obligation bond (in addition to approximately $10 million sales tax revenue to cover the balance) referendum on March 7, 2023, for long-overdue facility improvements.

ON THE BALLOT

Improvements at Atkins Elementary School
New addition (cafeteria/commons) and renovations, including additional classroom space.

Upgrades at the Middle/High School
Heating, cooling, electrical & safety upgrades. Remodel, improve and furnish and equip existing spaces including an improved, secure primary entryway.

New PK-6th Elementary Building in Van Horne
To provide modern, accessible, & adaptable facilities to support the evolving needs of the District. Including a regulation-sized basketball court with spectator bleachers.

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COMMUNICATIONS

Dec. 6, 2022 - PRESS RELEASE

BENTON COMMUNITY MARCH 2023 BOND REFERENDUM

Van Horne, IA  Dec. 6, 2022 – The Benton Community School District will propose a $48.5 million general obligation bond (in addition to sales tax revenue to cover the balance) referendum on March 7, 2023, for long-overdue facility improvements. The School Board prioritized projects to deal with growth at Atkins Elementary School, upgrades to the middle school/high school and a new elementary school in Van Horne.

“The School Board reviewed our master plan and priorities from the Facilities Committee,” said Superintendent Dr. Ewell. “This collaboration, along with Shive-Hattery architects and engineers, led to the next steps in the improvement process.”

If the bond referendum achieves a majority (60% approval), the district will move forward with a renovation and addition at Atkins Elementary School to accommodate growth. Heating, cooling, electrical, and safety upgrades at the High School and Middle School. A new PK-6th grade elementary school in Van Horne to provide modern, accessible, and adaptable facilities to support the evolving needs of the district. A petition will be circulated including the facts and figures about the needed building program to inform residents of the district.

Project timing will depend on a successful passage of a bond referendum in March of 2023. Design of projects will likely begin immediately after the passage of the referendum. Construction will start on improvements as early as Spring 2024. Length of construction timelines will vary with some improvements completed in 2025 and a new school potentially opening in time for the 2026/2027 school year.  Depending on growth projections, it is the district’s intent upon opening of the new school for students attending or expected to attend Keystone Elementary and Norway Intermediate to instead attend the new elementary school. 

“Benton’s Facilities Advisory Committee participated in a year-long study of facilities, including brainstorming and scoping work sessions, surveys and prioritization exercises,” Dr. Ewell said. “This diverse group of 35 volunteers, represents the viewpoints of community members, staff and students. Their robust evaluation of the information helped create an overall master plan for the District’s facilities.”

 The Benton Community School District geographic footprint covers 332  square miles and includes the communities of Atkins, Blairstown, Elberon, Keystone, Newhall, Norway, Van Horne and Watkins. The district includes 1,690 students and four buildings – Atkins Elementary, Keystone Elementary, Norway Intermediate and Benton Middle/High School.  

Dr. Pamela Ewell, Superintendent, Benton Community School District 

November 29, 2022 Communication

Hello,

Planning continues for improvements to facilities at Benton Community School District.  Our facility needs exceed the funds available to the district.  As a result, a school bond referendum (General Obligation Bond) will likely be in March 2023. Detailed project scopes and timelines will be dependent upon a successful bond referendum which requires approval by a supermajority of voters (60%).

School Board

The School Board has reviewed the master plan and the Committee’s prioritized needs and has explored the next steps in the improvement process. Together with Shive-Hattery architects and engineers, they have refined the priorities and aligned the improvements with the District’s potential funding sources for projects. 

Potential Facility Improvements

Priorities identified by the Board that may be included as part of a bond referendum are:

·      Improvements at Atkins Elementary School to accommodate growth

·      Heating, cooling, electrical, and safety  upgrades at the High School and Middle School

·      A new PK-6th grade elementary school in Van Horne to provide modern, accessible, and adaptable facilities to support the evolving needs of the district

Timing of Facility Improvements

Project timing will depend on a successful passage of a bond referendum in March of 2023.

Design of projects will likely begin immediately after the passage of the referendum.  Construction will start on improvements as early as Spring 2024. Length of construction timelines will vary, with some improvements completed in 2025 and a new school potentially opening in Van Horne in time for the 2026/2027 school year.

Options for other district facilities, such as Norway Intermediate,  Keystone Elementary and the old Van Horne Elementary, will be explored.

Expect to see more information, data, and detail on our website, media outlets, email messages, and our district Facebook page yet this week!

The school Board will be scheduling public information sessions in December and January. The dates, times, and locations will be sent out very soon. Keep checking your email and our website at www.benton.k12.ia.us

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BentonCSD

Thank you!

Benton Community School District Administration

Previous Communications