Cedar Falls Schools pondering June bond referendum - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls Schools pondering June bond referendum

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

After a failed bond referendum in September, the Cedar Falls School District plans to move ahead with another bond issue possibly as early as June.

But that plan would not include a new high school.

District officials are quick to point out it's still a necessity of its long-term solution to handle growth but they say it would be the second part of a two-pronged approach to solving a space crunch.

They're planning on a bond referendum dealing with elementary school issues first.

The Cedar Falls School District has been holding a series of meetings over the last several months - trying to figure out the best way to handle growing enrollment projections, while getting people involved in the district's future.

"Based on that feedback, we are looking at phasing the bond. The first phase would be on the elementary, knowing we have grave challenges with our capacity and no room at our elementaries," said superintendent Andy Pattee.

Pattee says numbers aren't set yet - but would be in the $35-38 million range, which would go to expansions and improvements at Orchard Hill and North Cedar Elementaries and a new elementary school.

The district has already set aside land on the southwest side of the city. They say it would meet the demands of a growing population.

It would serve 525 students in an area of the city that's booming with new housing.

Susan Armstrong is a teacher at North Cedar Elementary - one of the schools which would be improved.

"We see classrooms that are 85 degrees in winter, we see classrooms that are too cool, space issues, things that are out of date," said Armstrong.

It's just one of the schools using portable classrooms right now.

"We know that the elementary challenges are our capacity. Right now, we have portables, we have students that are in areas that weren't designed to be classrooms and we're growing so we really need to focus on the elementaries so that rises the level. We've got to do something quickly and immediately," said Pattee.

Pattee says the district should be able to finalize its plans within 3 weeks, then make an announcement on the bond issue.

As for plans for a new high school, work on that would wait until after the first bond issue goes before voters..

If voters were to approve the elementary plan, district leaders say construction could start next Spring.

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