Voters asked to approve issue

GARRISON The Garrison Public School Board will ask voters to approve a scaled-down bond issue on Oct. 8, a year after they overwhelmingly rejected a more elaborate proposal.

“We’ve cut the bond from $9 million to $5 million,” said superintendent Steve Brannan. “So it really is expansion. Before, it was expansion and renovation.”

Brannan said the growing district will do the needed renovation on a year-by-year basis, drawing from the district’s building fund.

If approved, the bond issue would pay for expansion at both the elementary school and at the high school, which are located three blocks apart.

The elementary addition would include four classrooms, a student resource room and bathrooms. The high school project would include an addition to the vocational agriculture classroom, a multipurpose room that would let the district serve school lunch at the high school, and a new media center. The current library would be divided into four classrooms.

Brannan said more space is badly needed. Current enrollment is at about 388 in K-12, about the same as last year, but with 18 new students on the first day of school Tuesday. Last year, there were 10 new students and the year before that there were 30 new students.

“We’re on the edge of the oil activity,”said Brannan, who said some families seem to move to Garrison and may commute to jobs in the oil patch.

The increase in students has led to overcrowding.

“We’re short space at the elementary,” said Brannan. “We had to convert the computer lab to a kindergarten classroom. Our computer lab is now a mobile cart.”

The lack of a cafeteria at the high school means that junior high and high school students must be bused to the elementary for lunch. That cuts into physical education class time at the elementary school, said Brannan, and the cost of busing the students every day also adds up. It isn’t feasible for the students to walk that distance during the winter.

Brannan said the school district will distribute literature around town to inform the public about the proposal and will make presentations to different groups, including the senior citizens’ groups. They also held an informational session for employees of the district.

If the $5 million bond issue were approved, taxes would go up $100 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home in Garrison, said Brannan.