Valparaiso schools advance $12M plan to pay for overdue maintenance
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent October 2, 2013 3:06PM
Updated: October 2, 2013 9:32PM
VALPARAISO — The Valparaiso Community Schools board took its first steps toward making overdue upgrades and repairs at all the school buildings.
After a public hearing where the people who spoke had more suggestions than concerns, the board members passed a resolution to create a $12 million bond issue for deferred maintenance by Nov. 26.
With an estimated 2 percent interest, the money borrowed by the bonds would include $703,799 in interest, but residents won’t see property taxes increase.
The new bond issue will replace a number of bond issues that are ending, so the money that went to those will pay off the coming bonds.
“It allows us to make repairs that have been put off in almost everyone of the facilities,” board president Mark Maassel said. “We want to do it in a way that does not increase taxes in any way.”
School officials estimated that they are about three years behind on some upgrades.
After the bonds are issued in November and the school district gets the money, the board will request bids for the work.
The work probably will start in spring, but it likely won’t be completed by the time school resumes in 2014 because of the number of possible projects, Superintendent Mike Berta said.
He said the administration will look into having work done after school lets out for the day, too.
Berta listed the work in three categories.
The first, environment, includes heating and air conditioning work, electrical work (including improvements for modern technology), furniture and alternative energy use.
Safety and security upgrades include playgrounds, public address systems, fire alarms and school entrance improvements.
The third category, for buildings, includes roofing, masonry and asphalt work.
Maassel said the work is what each building needs, not simply what it staff at those buildings wants or could use.
All 14 district buildings, including the bus garage, will get some work.
The School Board will have another vote on the bond issue Nov. 5.