The Seneca School District is campaigning to get the Proposition KIDS (Keep Improving District Schools) bond issue passed at the April 3 election.
If approved by voters, the school district is planning to build several things as well as improve existing structures within the school district.
“We are wanting to build a sports complex for youth and high school, as well as make performing arts improvements to the old gym in the high school,” said Seneca Superintendent of Schools Jim Cummins.
“We are also wanting to get a storm shelter at the agriculture building for the students and faculty at central office, and the junior high.”
In order to do those things, the school board decided on a 15-cent tax increase. If approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to increase from $0.85 to $1.00 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.
“What we are trying to do is upgrade the opportunities we provide to students and in the case of the track, provide something we don’t have for our students,” said Cummins.
“We want to give the kids dependable facilities to play and perform at, as well as complete safety precautions throughout the district.”
A track has been talked about since 2015, but other projects took top priority. In 2009 the old track was removed and never replaced.
A performing arts center (PAC) was also talked about in 2015, but again, wasn’t in the budget.
“We talk about the need for new ball fields every time it floods, but really started in 2010,” said Cummins.
The complex will be going on the north half of the 57 acres, already owned by the district, on Highway U.
According to Cummins, the north half of the property is the flattest part. There is already an existing entrance that will be used and another entrance would be created.
“Building this complex would mean that the youth would be able to host tournaments and more traffic would be brought to Seneca because of that, and it would also mean that we wouldn’t be asking for volunteers for field clean-up every time it floods,” said Cummins.
According to Cummins, he personally hasn’t received any resistance from the community about the bond issue, and the district itself is very excited about it, if passed.
For the fine arts, most are performing in the old gym aside from the drama classes. The school district wants to provide facilities to improve the gym, promoting all groups and organizations.
Improving the PAC would be helping the choirs with performances and drama students putting on a production.
“Our students deserve this. They represent us and we want to give them nice facilities for them to be proud of,” said Cummins.
“Our motto is ‘Tradition, Pride, Class’ and one thing I’ve learned from other places is that they have more pride when they have nicer things.”
The school district has been working hard to plan informational meetings to keep the community informed about what the district is trying to do.
“We really want to make sure the students know what will be there and what each thing will be used for and we just really want to give everyone an understanding of what we are trying to do,” said Cummins.
To give the community an idea of how much their taxes would increase if the bond issue passes, the district came up with examples. Personal residences are assessed at 19 percent of market value, so an owner of a $100,000 home would see an increase of $28.50 for the year based upon the passage of Proposition KIDS.
Personal vehicles are assessed at 33 percent of market value. An owner of two cars valued at $20,000 would see an increase of $9.90 for the year based upon the passage of the issue.
Agriculture land and machinery is assessed at 12 percent of market value. A farmer who has $100,000 worth of acreage and $50,000 worth machinery would see an increase of $27 for the year based upon the approval of the bond issue.
“We just want the community and residents to understand what they are being asked to give,” said Cummins.
“The money given is an investment in the community, school, kids, and the next generation alike, to continue success and pride.”