Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2001

Community support crucial for passing school bond issue

January 4, 2001

Last November, the Wellsville School District passed an $8.6 million bond issue for a much-needed elementary school. As the Eudora School District looks at options for its schools in need of repair or expansion, the district may want to look toward Wellsville's community committees for ideas.

Wellsville Elementary School (WES) Principal Jim Daugherty said a main reason the bond passed was because of community support. This was the third attempt at passing a bond issue in Wellsville. An attempt was made in 1988 for the elementary school, then \ Wellsville High (WHS) and the final attempt for WES.

Daugherty said he believed the issue passed because of a community building committee. The committee held open houses in the school so residents could see the school's condition first hand .

"I think the success of this bond issue was attributed to the community-wide building committee," Daugherty said. "That committee pretty well stayed together for the whole bond issue."

Daugherty said WES was using closet space as classrooms and was running out of storage space. With ever-diminishing space at WHS, the community took action at the polls to help ease the burden. After a close look at the possible options, the community helped heavily in the decision of which school to build.

"The community facility committee basically made the decision as to which of the buildings to build and we went from there," he said.

Wellsville Education Association President Todd Vincent said teachers also formed a committee to aid in educating the public on the issue. The Kid's First committee was a parent, teacher and community group supporting the school bond. Kid's First targeted older residents in the community.

"The bond issues tend to affect members on fixed income the most, so we invited key members of the older communities in," he said.

Vincent said much support came form teachers who saw first hand how a cramped school affected students' lives.

"I think the key issue in passing our bonds, we had an incredible amount of support from our elementary teachers," Vincent said.

Daugherty said the efforts of the community groups were heavily influential.

"It passed by about the same margin that the same two had failed," he said.

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