The Peninsula School District Board has approved a bond for the Feb. 8, 2011 election. The district will ask for $78 million to be used for upgrades to security, safety and health.

“The current rate for 2010 is 69 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value,” said assistant superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto. “The rate for the bond that was passed in 2003 and collected in 2004 was $1.41 per $1,000. The rate for 2012, if the bond is passed in February, will be 96 cents per $1,000. On a $200,000 home that will be about $55 more in 2012. So that is still below the 2003 rate.”

The money will pay for improvements to the interior and exterior of buildings, including windows, doors, floors, heating and cooling systems, and basic security and safety on each campus, said Terry Bouck, superintendent.

“I was astounded when I came here five years ago and we had no security cameras on the outside of our schools,” Bouck said. “That is absolute almost necessity at most districts now, and we need them on buses.”

Some of the money from the 2003 bond was used to improve traffic flow at 11 of the district’s 15 schools, he said, and traffic flow is an ongoing concern.

Safety is a concern across the district, and Bouck sited the stadium seating at Peninsula High School as one of the areas that needs attention.

“They are old and at times when the crowd gets so excited, those seats move away from the framework of the stadium,” he said. “We have them bolted down at this point, but they need to be ADA accessible.”

Architects and engineers have assessed the school buildings, and Cuzzetto said they found Artondale Elementary needs the most attention.

“We’re planning to significantly renovate that school,” he said.

Just as homes need maintenance, Bouck said school buildings do also, and part of the bond money will be set aside to replace or upgrade furniture and equipment.

“We need some money to replace what wears out,” he said. “We understand it is difficult times, but we also feel this has been a very well thought out plan. We included the community members, staff, parents and principals and we’re encouraged that once we get out there and explain the benefits people will understand the investment in the community. We hope it will also mean jobs.”

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