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Education

Derby Sets Bond Election For New Elementary School, District Renovations

derby_bond_stadium.png
Derby Public Schools
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One of the bond questions is for a new softball field and athletic upgrades worth about $4 million.

People who live in the Derby school district will decide three bond issues next month for projects worth about $124 million.

Derby is growing, and in order to keep up, the school district wants to build a new elementary school and renovate or add to older schools. 

Derby Public Schools Operations Director Joe Dessenberger says some of the elementary schools were built in the 1950s and are showing their age.

“Those buildings have the original boiler systems in them, the original piping that serves those boiler systems and the original plumbing, and they are in a state where they need to be completely replaced,” Dessenberger says.

Projects in Bond Question 1 would cost about $114 million. Dessenberger says some of the work is maintenance problems that have been on hold for six years.

“You go across the district, and a lot of our facilities need a lot of maintenance issues that quite frankly, we just can’t get to all of them with the dollars that come in from the state,” he says.

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Credit Derby Public Schools
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The district wants to install intruder lock hardware in schools that don't already have it.

The buildings would also get security upgrades such as intruder locks on classroom doors and a storm shelter if there’s not one there already. The plan also includes closing Pleasantview Elementary.

“We can’t afford to have this bond issue go down on Question 1," Dessenberger says. "Not only because we need things now, [but] the longer we wait it’s just going to get more expensive to do."

If voters approve Bond Question 1 for the school projects, they can decide two other bond proposals. Bond Question 2 would add a $5.4 million year-round multipurpose facility to ease space issues at the high school. Bond Question 3 is for a new softball field and athletic upgrades worth about $4 million.

If all three bond issues are approved, property taxes would go up about $118 a year for the average homeowner.

The district says some projects will start as early as next fall, and nearly all work would be completed by the end of 2022.

A committee of community members, parents and staff evaluated the district’s current facilities and analyzed enrollment projections in developing the facilities master plan proposal.

Derby Public Schools has 6,700 students in nine elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school.

The district will be holding information sessions on Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. at the Educational Support Center and on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m at Derby High School.

The bond election is set for Feb. 20. 

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.