Elementary 10, Referendum Talks Begin Among Ankeny School Board Members
If everything goes as planned, Ankeny voters could see a special election held as early as September to finance the construction of the district's tenth elementary school.
in as little as five months, Ankeny voters could be giving the Ankeny School District the thumbs-up or down to proceed with building a tenth elementary school.
At the Ankeny school board's regular meeting Monday night, board members began talk about Elementary 10 as well as when a bond referendum to finance construction of the school could go before voters.
Superintendent Matthew Wendt told board members he hopes to put a referendum before voters on Sept. 11.
"My point is to bring forward, put on your radar screen and acknowledge there is work to do on this topic," Wendt said. "We need to continue moving through this in the next couple months to position the district and the community for a bond referendum."
Would you support a bond referendum to complete Elementary 10? Tell us why you would or wouldn't in the comments.
In October, Rob Schwarz, a demographer with RSP & Associates, updated the school board with the latest enrollment projections for the district. There currently are 8,879 students enrolled in the district. The number of students will continue to grow, reaching almost 11,000 students by the 2016-17 school year.
At the October meeting, Schwarz said the district's current facility plan will account for growth at the secondary level, but a need for more space will surface quickly in the district’s elementary schools.
Several schools already are over capacity, including Ashland Ridge, Southeast, Crocker and Westwood elementary schools, and will remain so in the next five years. It also is projected Prairie Trail Elementary, scheduled to open in August, will be over capacity by 21 students one year after it opens.
Between now and September, several items will need to be approved or done by by board members in order to move forward on a possible referendum.
Board members are expected at their April 2 meeting to determine how large the referendum will be to construct a tenth elementary school. The final amount of the referendum as well as the language that would appear on the ballot would be approved May 7.
In early May, board members would then circulate a petition throughout the community to obtain signatures to move the referendum forward. The petition must be signed by a minimum of 1,752 individuals, or 25 percent of those who voted in the last school district election on Sept. 13, 2011.
If enough signatures are obtained, the board would set the date of the election in July. Community meetings also would be held in July, August and September to educate residents about the referendum.
"We have to make sure the community is well-aware of this project as well as the need for it," Wendt said.
If a referendum does appear on the September ballot, 60 percent of the vote is required to pass it.