Tri States Public Radio Staff
New Home Construction
Wed March 7, 2012
City Buying Middle School
The West Burlington School District has agreed to sell its former middle school to the city for just $1.
Superintendent Dave Schmitt says this is the best option for the entire community.
“We could have gotten $5,000-$10,000 for the building,” says Schmitt, “but then there could have been that risk that it become dilapidated or an eyesore for our community.”
The city plans to tear down the former school at 211 Ramsey Street so several new homes can be built, one of which would be targeted to low-income families.
Schmitt says the school district would turn over the building by July 1 at the earliest.
He says the wrestling room in the former school must still be relocated, along with records that must be maintained by the district.
Schmitt says they will be scanned so the files can be stored electronically.
The West Burlington City Council is expected to sign off on the purchase this week.
Meanwhile, the West Burlington School District is looking to make additions to next year’s budget as opposed to subtracting from it.
Schmitt says the district is in line for about $150,000 in new state funding thanks to increased enrollment.
For comparison, the Keokuk School District will receive $550,000 less than it should because of declining enrollment.
Schmitt says that has the district looking to address larger class sizes at the elementary level.
He says there are expected to be more than 70 students in kindergarten, first and second grades next year.
Schmitt says that has the district considering a new 1st grade teacher and possibly a new 2nd grade teacher.
He says West Burlington is also interested in hiring a curriculum director, but the new elementary teachers are more of a priority.
Schmitt says the district is also projecting a $0.16 cut in the proposed property tax rate.
He plans to present more budget details to the West Burlington School Board during its next meeting.