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Ankeny School Board Votes on Land-Infrastructure Agreement with the City of Ankeny

In the agreement, the school district has agreed to convey land to the city of Ankeny in exchange for the completion of infrastructure needed for the district's tenth elementary school.

The Ankeny school board gave the green light to an agreement with the city of Ankeny that exchanges land for infrastructure cost.

The board voted 7-0 at its Monday night meeting to enter into the agreement with the city, in which the district agrees to convey 70 acres of land located along 36th Street west of State Street to the city in exchange for approximately $2.2 million of road and utility improvements needed in the construction of the district's next elementary school.

"We've entered into this agreement to give the city a piece of land that we don’t need and in exchange we get infrastructure that we don’t have to pay for, the community doesn’t have to pay for and we can take off the cost (of Elementary 10)," said school board president Pat Cahill. "It's important for the community to know we’re saving them money."

The city previously voted in favor of the agreement at a special Oct. 8 meeting. The land conveyed to the city is currently appraised at approximately $1.54 million and is adjacent to where the new elementary school is proposed to be built.

The estimated cost of infrastructure the city will receive in return is $2.7 million with approximately $500,000 abated through special assessments and water and sewer connection fees, the release said. The city has already factored the project into its Capital Improvements Program for calendar year 2014.

Jeff Krausman, attorney for the district, said this will allow the district to make necessary infrastructure improvements for which it would not have been able to bond.

"This agreement is a result of the decision-makers in the comm making the decision to work together," Krausman said. "We’ve had a history of doing in the past but hasn’t been as productive in the last three years."

The agreement will go into affect only if voters pass a proposed $15.9 million referendum needed to construct Elementary 10. Right now, the referendum is scheduled to be placed on a special February 2013 ballot provided the district gets enough signatures to do so.

Jack F October 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Is Patty joking or is the news media asleep. She says the community needs to understand they are saving money by swapping land. How???? They are still spending over 18M either way. Talk about remedial math candidate. Did she even graduate?
Joe Dygas October 19, 2012 at 03:00 PM
What the community would probably like to see is a complete financial breakdown of all the related expenses to building yet another school in addition to the bond issue itself...for example, how is the furniture paid for, hiring of staff and teachers, classroom equipment and supplies and so on... Are we to assume these costs are just a part of the ordinary school budget or something else?
Megan VerHelst October 19, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Jack, they're not swapping land for land here. Here's how I understand the agreement – the district will give this leftover chunk of land to the city because they won't be able to use it in constructing the 10th elementary. In exchange, the city is agreeing to take care of the cost of infrastructure building a new school requires (sidewalks, roads, etc.) So basically it boils down to this: had the district hung on to the land, it would have sat empty and they still would have to pay for the infrastructure the city is now taking care of on behalf of the district. Yes, they are still seeking the $18.9 million bond to construct the school itself, but infrastructure costs will now be taken care of which will save the district money on the final bill. Does this make sense?
Jack F October 20, 2012 at 02:44 AM
They have no other land to build an elementary. To save money they need to cut back. Giving away an asset is not saving Megan. They should build the elementary on land where they don't need to build the city roads. Sell the land to a developer and use the cash to pay down debt. If they wait, that area will develop. When there are people and kids there then build the school. I bet there is a bunch of other land around that they own to build an elementary in an established neighborhood. You got to stop drinking the cool aid and stop just printing the press release they hand you.
Megan VerHelst October 20, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Thanks for your comment, Jack.
Nathan Hofstadter December 16, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Jack, I don't understand your reasoning. First, if it is an established neighborhood they probably already have their school logistics laid out. We have to plan forward, not drive around and find places where we can just stick a school. Second, I don't agree with selling off school assets to pay down debt. Where do we stop? Also, we do need a school now, and we will need a school in another three years, and three years after that. We can expect to be in debt for as long as the demographic trends continue in Ankeny. I for one am willing to pay the price to ensure the schoolchildren have both adequate facilities and adequate resources to continue to have an outstanding education. We have an obligation to provide this education to the current and future generations, just as it was supplied to your generation. Have a good day.
Jack F December 16, 2012 at 01:50 PM
They gave the land to the city instead of selling it. Taxpayers lose. A few years ago the demographers said the next elementary should be on elementary land owned in NE area where all the new houses and sidewalks are. They ignored this and gave away 70 acres of prime development land to run a bond and build an elementary where there are no sidewalks or kids.
Nathan Hofstadter December 16, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Jack, they aren't giving the land away. That is untrue, and a lie if you know it to be untrue. They are getting infrastructure for the new school in the swap for free. As far as the location, they didn't ignore squat: From the info provided by the board: Why this location? • Using either the district-owned “36th and State” or “Woodland Reserve” property would lower project costs. • More growth is occurring to the West. The 36th and State location will better alleviate enrollment pressure from that area. • The selected location potentially results in moving fewer students when drawing new boundaries. Anything else I can help you with?
Jack F December 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Sure Nathan just like this building is saving over 2M. Right............. we believe the board.
Nathan Hofstadter December 18, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Jack, you completely wrong. The info is transparent, both on the school website and printed on a mailer, and has answered your question. Have you approached either the city council or school board members? Emailed them? Called them? Attended any meetings with your concerns?
Jack F December 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Nathan the information was only offered after the deals were done in secret. Just like the old days. Nothing has changed. I have been here over 30 years and I thought with the new sunshine laws our elected politicians would change their hidden meetings and have open debate before the decisions were made so citizens could watch the entire process not just the outcome. Nathan- keep your head in the sand.
Nathan Hofstadter December 22, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Jack, you didn't answer my question. How many meetings have you been to?
William December 22, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Nathan, I'm curious. Why the obsession with who attends board meetings and how many they have or have not attended? Are you implying only those taxpayers who attend school board meetings in person have the right to express their opinions here? Many folks follow the workings of the school board via information provided by the board on the ASCD website, press releases from the school district, and information provided in the media. In reviewing past board meeting minutes published on the district website, I don't see your name appearing anywhere on the list of attendees. Perhaps you don't sign in?
Nathan Hofstadter December 23, 2012 at 02:16 AM
William, it's easy. Many use past issues they never cared about until the issue of a bond was raised as an excuse to be against the bond. You know, kind of an excuse not to pay for a bond, albeit a hollow one. Unless they cared enough before to go to a meeting a voice their concerns over items like turf fields. So William, not really an obsession of mine, just pointing out that many never cared before, but as soon as someone says "bond"...............

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