Heidi Bunch - Mineral County Commissioner Jerrie Tipton addressed a small crowd at the school bond town hall meeting last week. Tipton explained how the county tax revenue is set up and answered questions from those in attendance.

Heidi Bunch – Mineral County Commissioner Jerrie Tipton addressed a small crowd at the school bond town hall meeting last week. Tipton explained how the county tax revenue is set up and answered questions from those in attendance.

A small group of Mineral County residents gathered to listen as Walt Hackford, Superintendent of Mineral County School District, explained why a “yes” vote would be beneficial to his district.

Explaining that regardless of the vote, Mineral County taxes would not be lowered and that the $3.66 tax per $100 assessed value would still be collected, he emphasized the need for a “yes” vote in order for the school district to complete projects to the aging buildings throughout the district.

“It’s critical – essential, that we get this bond”, Hackford emphasized to those in attendance.

“The bond money is used only for capital improvements. Must be used to repair – improve our old buildings.”

In a capital improvement handout from school board trustees in attendance, over the next ten years, the district is looking to replace boilers at both the district office as well as the high school. The $25,000 replacement of the boiler stack had already been completed. Hackford explained that the aging boilers were fragile and could not handle much more repair.

Not only would the heating system be updated, but per the list, the Mineral County High School would also replace the football field lights, chip sealing the parking lots, replacing the 13,000 square foot roof as well as updating the football bleachers, press box and snack bar. The cost of the repairs to the high school was estimated at $551,000 not including carpet and paint, which Hackford explained after the meeting was also in need for replacement.

The Arlo Funk District Office Building would require repairs of not only the boilers, but of the foam roof on both the main building and gym as well as new sewer lines.

District wide, Hackford believes that the best way to control the heating and cooling issues would be to contract the installation of ground source heating, which is already in place in the Mineral County High School vocational building.

A handout explained that “The cost saving for just the five classrooms in the vocational building has been about $11,000 a year. District-wide, when you account for costs of fuel oil, propane and maintenance costs, we will save at least $200,000 a year (if not more) with this system in place.”

Out of the $3.66 collected tax, the district receives 25 cents per one hundred dollars to make improvements such as those listed above. (Improvements to Hawthorne Elementary and Schurz Elementary Schools were also listed, with the main item being the replacement of carpet throughout the buildings.)

If the bond issue is not passed, the improvements will then have to come from the Mineral County School District general fund which has already taken a hit when the school took a hit from the State of Nevada earlier this year.

“I want to keep the general fund free from paying for capital improvements”, Hackford explained.

Though the school district receives many grants, those grants are not ear-marked for repairs or salaries. The district in the past has received grants for such items as Chromebooks for students, high speed internet and counselors.

It was explained that which Hackford along with trustees from the Mineral County School Board were frugal with their budget, the state saw that they were being “fiscally responsible” and penalized the district $264,000. Money that could have been used for such items as salaries, repairs or even programs.

He explained that the teachers within the district have not had a raise in quite some time while the district was trying to be “frugal.” In 2008-09 school year, there was a layoff and freeze on steps. To date, in 2013 teachers have only been given a 4.7 percent raise and a 2 percent cost of living increase from 2014 to date.

The school board will hold a free spaghetti feed at the Elks Lodge at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 for those who are interested in getting further information regarding this bond issue. A rebuttal is also printed this week in the Independent-News.

“If the department of education penalized us, please do not penalize us again. We need community support”, Hackford stated.