EDUCATE, PRIDE, EXCELLENCE
USD #338 completed a strategic plan during the 2017-2018 school year. It was updated in the fall of 2018 with a new superintendent and again in the 2019-2020 school year with a new board. Here is a copy of the current strategic plan.
By approving the goals of the district, the board of education made a commitment to create a long-term capital improvement plan, enhance educational opportunities for the USD 338 students and staff, and increase enrollment.
As part of one of the goals, a 5-year capital improvement plan was created through committee work that included staff, board, district supervisors, parents, and community members. It is reviewed each year and adjusted based on current needs. It has helped the district make improvements to facilities across the district, purchase a bus and equipment, and utilize capital improvement dollars in a more efficient way.
The district generates approximately $295,000 in capital outlay funds (8 mills) each year. However, the funds generated through capital improvement dollars are not enough to cover all the needed facility improvements and the yearly maintenance of $50-60,000 in costs. Yearly maintenance includes required inspections, rotation of flooring improvements, a portion of maintenance salary, and cleaning supplies/equipment.
School Year 2019-20
In the 18-19 school year, the district started to see a number of the window airconditioning units fail in the elementary. Working with Energy Solutions Professionals the district entered a lease-purchase agreement in 19-20. The contract was an energy performance contract, which means there is a guarantee that the energy savings will offset the costs of the lease payment. This allowed the district to update the HVAC system for the elementary and upgrade lighting throughout the district. The new HVAC system not only updated an old system but enhanced the educational environment by replacing a unit that was noisy in the classrooms.
Adopted the first 5-year capital improvement plan
Energy Solutions Downpayment and first two lease payments
School Year 2020-21 (some of the expenses from capital improvements)
Elementary roof ($70,134.4)
Bus bun approach ($33,608)
Added electric motor to move bleachers in east gym ($17,495)
Addition of Ag and movement of art ($11,936.47)
Security upgrades to district doors and gym ($10,496.13)
Locker room heaters in the east gym ($10,895)
Fixed dishwasher ($4,255)
Softball uniforms ($2,401.05)
Repairs to HS boy's bathroom ($2,510.34)
Elementary playground fencing ($ 5,900)
HVAC repairs band room ($4,200)
School Year 2021-22 (proposed)
Pave elementary parking lot ($20,000)
Upgrade fire alarm and bell system ($80,000)
Replace a van ($35,000)
Upgrade hot/cold serving line equipment ($25,000)
Remodel elementary bathroom ($8,300)
Energy performance lease payment (68,000)
In April 2021, the district started a conversation about refinancing the 2012 bond. In May the district approved a company for the refinancing and in June, the board approved refinancing the 2012 bond with final approval coming in July 2021. The refinancing brought the interest rate from 5% to .87% and the final cost savings to taxpayers was $86,883.52. Knowing that the mill rate on the district bond fund would drop in 21-22 and the current interest rates are extremely low, the board began discussing the possibility of trying to pass a bond that would NOT raise taxes yet would leave the mill levy at the current amount. It was determined that 3.1 million could be raised in bond money and would not raise the mill levy for the bond fund. The proposed interest rate is approximately 2%.
In May 2021, a committee of staff (ADs, lead teachers, supervisors, and district administration) met and developed a list of capital improvement needs for the board. The items highlighted were given priority by this staff group. The needs were categorized and each determined to be either a bond or capital improvement cost.
In June 2021, the board continued to discuss the possibility of a bond and to prioritize capital expenses.
In July/August 2021, the board hired HTK architects to analyze current facilities and determine if some areas of the buildings could be remodeled to provide more classroom spaces. HTK would also be helping the district with a bond if it were to move forward. After analyzing each building a decision was made that it would be less expensive to add two new classrooms than to remodel and try to carve out two classrooms in the existing buildings.
Each board member was asked to provide the names of two patrons from each of his or her voting areas to serve on a committee that would advise the board. They were tasked with two items: 1. Should the bond move forward with a bond? 2. What items should be on the bond issue? HTK met with this committee a number of times until the group determined that they would recommend moving forward and a priority list of items that met the 3.1 million threshold.
This committee has chosen a 3.1 million bond program (which is a no tax increase bond issue) with board approval to put on the November election. The program includes:
Safety and Security Improvements
New HVAC in the High School
Elementary Addition (2 classrooms for Preschool)
Multipurpose Room at the Stadium
New 7 Lane Track