Clayton voters OK $20 million in district projects
CLAYTON - Voters here approved a $20 million renovation and expansion project for the school district on Tuesday paving the way for much-needed work at the district's two schools.
The passage of the referendum 616 to 274 means that the school district will receive $9.9 million from the state for the project, resulting in a taxpayer responsibility of approximately $10 million. The project will result in a tax impact of $216.44 per year for a resident with a home assessed at $100,000.
"I've got some board members here with me and we're all very happy," said Superintendent Cleve Bryan on Tuesday night. "This is a big day for Clayton. The improvements to the school system's facilities are much-needed."
Bryan said the district will set up a meeting with Garrison Architects in the next week to map out a timeline for construction.
The projects included in the referendum for Herma S. Simmons Elementary School are the conversion of the board of education office into three classrooms; replacement of the roof, chiller, electrical service, emergency generator and HVAC rooftop units; and masonry repairs and parking lot and playground reconstruction.
For the middle school and high school, the projects are board of education office relocation; Instructional Materials Center (IMC) conversion to the entrance and middle school offices; renovations to classrooms and the computer lab; an upgrade of the security system; replacement of the emergency generator, interior doors and hardware, HVAC systems in the gym and auxiliary gym; construction of a library/IMC to Department of Education standards; expansion and renovation of the cafeteria and kitchen; construction of a high school entrance and office; the addition of two science labs with prep rooms, 16 Smart Classrooms, five small group/special education classrooms and an art studio; renovation of the TV studio; reconstruction of the baseball field; a new middle school/high school plaza on Pop Kramer Boulevard and the addition of a connector drive between the parking lot and plaza.
"It was a decisive win in terms of a bond referendum," said Bryan. "It was also a much higher percentage of voters than we usually get for a school election. I think we worked hard to get the word out and people realized that this project was much-needed and that the opportunity to get half the cost covered by the state might not happen again."
A total of 18 percent of Clayton's registered voters turned out to the polls on Tuesday, most of whom were in support of the project.
"I voted yes and absolutely want it to pass because our children need a better education," said Marilyn Ramos.
"I voted yes because I think they need more room," said Ken Thomas. "These schools get crowded."
"It's a necessity," added Susan Washburn. "My kids both attended the middle school and high school and it was overcrowded then. We need to take advantage of the funding that's available."
There were some "no" votes, but not enough to challenge the majority.
"I voted no because the district should've regionalized a long time ago," said Chris Otterson.
Ultimately, it was the pro votes that won out.
"I voted yes this time and last time too because the schools are in terrible condition and we have to do something," said Victor Abramov. "I don't care how much my taxes go up."
"I voted yes because I feel that the project is necessary and we have been offered this large grant," said Joe Yanzuk. "It's an opportunity we have to take."