Audubon School Board

Audubon school board members (left to right) Joni Madsen, Health Hansen, Mark Nissen and Christy Konkler talked about a study on the high school building, late last year.

AUDUBON — A special election is planned for March 3, on a $7.5 million bond issue for the Audubon Community School District. The district’s current tax levy of $11.69 would rise to $12.42 if the bond vote was approved.

The district is looking to do extensive updating and remodeling work that touches nearly every area in the high school/junior high building. The work is expected to be done over the summer in 2021.

The school board approved setting the election date, and getting the ball rolling on the project. The board is expected to approve contracts with Denovo for Construction Management Services and with Studio Melee for architect services. Denovo and Studio Melee put together an extensive study on the building and the district’s needs around the building.

The question on the ballot reads, “Shall the Board of Directors of the Audubon Community School District in the Counties of Audubon and Guthrie, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $7,500,000 to provide funds to remodel, repair, and improve the middle school / high school building, including HVAC, electrical, and plumbing improvements?”

Any registered voter in the Audubon School District is eligible to vote, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. The polling site is the Agri-Hall on the Audubon County Fairgrounds.

Superintendent Eric Trager said community meetings would be held to explain the planned project, the proposed tax levy and how that will affect area residents.

Dates and times for the meetings will be posted on the district’s Facebook page and on the district website.

Information on the school’s website lists the project scope including:

HVAC upgrades — replacing the current systems, adding AC throughout, control upgrades and electrical infrastructure updates.

Space improvements and modernization — for nearly every area around the building from the auditorium, classrooms, hallways and corridors, and more.

Safety and Security — fire protection system with sprinklers and alarms, secure entries and egress lighting.

A chart offers a comparison of tax rates at area schools, 10 with enrollments below Audubon’s, and 10 with enrollments above Audubon’s. The chart has Audubon’s current tax levy, at $11.69, at the low end of the chart — with only Colo-Nesco at $10.75 and Coon Rapids-Bayard at $10.86 having lower tax levy rates. The proposed rate of $12.42 is higher than those three, and three other districts, Exira-EHK at $12.04 and Lynnville-Sully and Guthrie Center, both at $12.37. Other districts had rates ranging from $12.50 to $18.67.

The impact for residents would be about $36.66 per year for a home with a $100,000 assessed value, or 81 cents per acre per year for average Audubon County farmland.