Johnstown Independent

Johnstown-Monroe

District bond-issue campaign begins

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Outreach Committee Chair Gia Kaul speaks to supporters during the Johnstown New Schools Levy Kick-Off and Fundraiser event Thursday, March 13. The Johnstown-Monroe school district has an 8-mill bond issue on the May 6 ballot.
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The push to pass a new bond issue for the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District officially began Thursday night, March 13.

Dubbed, the Johnstown New Schools Levy Kick-Off and Fundraiser, supporters met at the Sugar Woods Banquet and Conference Center, just northeast of Johnstown.

The event was meant both to raise money for the cause and to spark interest and awareness of the movement. Organizers emphasized the importance of spreading the word and being informed.

"We really want anyone who has any questions to come to us," campaign committee co-chairman Jay Hazelbaker said. "Let us know what you want to know."

A presentation was run on a screen in the background throughout the evening, detailing what the bond issue was meant to do and the effect it would have on the district.

The measure is expected to generate $1,865,231 annually for 38 years.

If voters approve the bond issue on the May 6 ballot, the district's plan would be to build a new K-5 building in the Leafy Dell subdivision and a new high school building that is tentatively planned to be built on the practice field behind the existing high school. Design would begin in July, and construction likely would be finished in three years.

The district then would renovate the existing high school, which would serve as the new middle school.

Among a plethora of renovations are plans for new band, art, science, computer and weight-room space, as well as specific gym and cafeteria spaces.

Band director Joe Carver said his students know they don't have adequate facilities and are always impressed when visiting other districts.

"We could have that," Carver said. "The little things they're wowed by are the things we've been waiting for."

The district has been waiting for some time. All four of the district's existing buildings were built before 1965, with no new additions to the schools since 1986, when an auditorium and library were added at the high school.

"The world has changed," campaign committee co-chairman Dustin Calhoun said. "We need to give kids the opportunity to learn with the technology of the future, not of the past."

The bond issue is a total of 8 mills, with 7.5 mills for bonds to renovate and improve school facilities and 0.5 mill for permanent improvements. Residents would pay an additional $280 annually per $100,000 of assessed property value, or $23.33 per month.

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