Ripley School Corporation approves first step in building new facilities
Cindy DiFazio - Staff Writer
The South Ripley School Corporation Board of Directors held a
public hearing concerning a bond issue for construction of facilities
on Monday, May 21, 2007. All members of the board were present.
Board president, Jim Miller, began, Never has quality education
been more important than today. He continued, Our
mission in our schools and in our community should be to help
students reach their potential. Miller noted that South
Ripley schools barely meet state requirements for graduation and
that the school corporation must institute corrective action.
Miller said that when it became clear that there would be no merger
with Jac-Cen-Del, the South Ripley School Corporation began planning
on its own. Taken into consideration were the needs and the limitations
of the community to achieve a balance in the planning.
Before introducing Hal Kovert, architect with the firm of Kovert-Hawkins
Architects, Miller cautioned, If we fail, we put an entire
generation of students at a disadvantage.
Kovert described his firms proposal as a learning
plan that first identified deficiencies, then determined
options along with costs associated with each option and finally
solidified and determined a final direction.
Some compelling reasons for proposed changes and new facilities
Tyson Gym unavailable after May 2008
Increased technology needs
Competition for students in the area
Provide proper spaces for all programs
Correct items of disrepair due to age and use
Improve overall physical condition of buildings
Buildings to provide for today and tomorrow
The way the plan would accomplish these ends is to:
Upgrade science laboratories and equipment
Upgrade media center
Expand the cafeteria
Add performing arts area
Ensure appropriate and adequate physical education facilities
Perform a general upgrade of the facility
In order to reach these goals, it was determined that the junior
high school should be separated from the high school in order
to create its own identity and to develop curriculum specifically
designed for junior high students.
To accomplish that, 17 classrooms would be added to the high school.
Additional space would also be created at the elementary school
to implement full-day kindergarten, soon to be mandated by the
The costs for the project are:
High School renovations - $4,530,000
High School additions - $9,900,000
Elementary addition - $1,200,000
Soft costs - $2,749,485
The total project cost is $19,538,135. The corporation has $2,773,135
on hand. The net bond issue the corporation will ask for is $16,765,000.
The property tax impact under a tailored payment option devised
by City Securities Corporation would be as follows. This project
will impact a homeowner of property assessed at $100,000 with
an increase in their property tax a maximum of $8 per month ($96
per year) beginning in 2009 and would decrease each year thereafter.
This project will impact agricultural property assessed at $1,140
an acre with an increase in their property tax a maximum of $2.14
an acre per year beginning in 2009 and then decrease each year
If the project is allowed to proceed as planned, construction
could begin in March 2008. Kindergarten classrooms would be available
for use in August 2008 and the gymnasium would be ready to use
in November. The entire project would be completed in August 2009.
Following the presentation, public comment was requested.
Andy Richter of Versailles commended the school board for coming
up with a plan that addresses the schools needs without
going overboard. She commented, What were producing
right now are kids who are not able to compete for jobs.
Richter cautioned, Well end up an area of senior citizens
and lower-income families. She closed by saying, Whether
or not we have children in the school system, as elders of this
community we owe this to the kids.
Rusty Reed is the father of a child with special needs. He said
that while he applauds the special needs program at the elementary
level at South Ripley, what will happen at higher levels? Reed
noted that after sixth grade, special needs children are bused
to another school district. He believes that this takes away from
the students education. Reed asked the board to take these
kids needs into consideration in the planning for new facilities.
I would like to see those needs met, he stated. They
are part of our community also.
Mark Taylor, of Versailles, thanked the board for putting together
a solution. He noted that while he is in full support of what
is on the table, he feels its not enough to fix the problems
for the future. Taylor stated that there are two foundations of
a community - churches and schools. He commented, When we
lose either, there are decreases in industry, economics and population.
Taylor shared that it is a struggle for his family every year
facing the decision to keep sending their daughters to school
in the South Ripley district. He suggested that schools need to
do more than just meet the minimum standard. Taylor ended by saying,
Weve needed to do this for 20 years. Lets keep
the families that we have and bring in more.
The two resolutions to request a bond issue passed unanimously.