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Community asks Durant school board to consider November election 

Community asks Durant school board to consider November election 

Revised plan responds to community feedback with reduced cost, variety of funding 


DURANT - Residents of the Durant Community School District are currently circulating a petition to ask the school board to hold a special election on November 7, 2023.  


The petition contains the bond language that would appear on the ballot in November, when voters would be asked to allow the district to raise property taxes to pay back a general obligation bond.  


The $11,060,000 million bond would partially pay for various improvements at the district. In response to community feedback, the remainder of the project will be paid for using an income surtax through another state funding mechanism called PPEL, or the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy. This will spread project costs between both property and non-property owners. The total project cost, including both bond and PPEL funds will be $13,214,000. 


The district last asked voters to approve a bond in March 2023. That project would have increased taxes by $4.05 for a total project cost of $15.6 million. The current proposal calls for an increase of $2.70 per $1,000 of taxable property value.  


The previous plan narrowly failed to meet the required 60% super majority with 59.8% of the 1,046 voters in favor of the plan.  


In the four months since the last vote, the school board and district leadership met with members of the community to determine next steps. Concurrently, the state legislature passed a new law that allows school districts to hold special elections just once a year in November. 


Because the district has needs that are only going to grow as more time passes and costs are unlikely to go down, the board decided to hold another special election in November of this year.  


The projects proposed are largely the same as those recommended by the community-based facilities committee to the board in fall 2022.However, because construction is now likely to take place in 2025, the district had to reduce the scope of work to fit within the escalated costs. The plan is to complete the replacement of the middle school gym as well as the general upgrades, including classroom renovations.  


The board removed the auditorium from the current scope of work and is exploring alternative ways to pay for improvements to this facility. The board considered reducing the amount of work in the auditorium to fit within the budget. However, smaller renovations, such as new seating, would require the district to address all ADA non-compliance issues, which are costly and would not realize the goals of expanding the space. That is why the board decided to find another way to complete the auditorium expansion and renovation in the future.    


The community group needs 250 signatures to take the petition to the board. Once the petitions have been received, the board will call the election.  


The district plans to have an open house to talk about the plan and funding on September 25 and October 23 at the school. For more information or to tour the current facilities, contact Superintendent Joe Burnett at 563-785-4432 ext. 1290 or