...The Pleasant Hill School District has been hosting meetings open to the public, and in fact are encouraging the community to attend and participate, to entertain a potential school bond that may be sent for the voting ballot at the end of January 2018. Representatives of Hollis and Miller, an architectural company, attended these meetings to address questions and explain their findings from their review of each of the public school buildings in Pleasant Hill. Hollis and Miller architects focus on helping educational buildings update areas that need improvement and make suggestions. Some of the focused areas within the Pleasant Hill schools were improved safety and security measures, optimal use of space and possible additions or expansions, means of assuring efficient traffic flow, maintaining ADA compliance, roofing, flooring, mechanical operations, adequate electrical outlets, quality educational processes and learning tools (technology), parking lot conditions, lighting, sports accommodations, and the cost analysis for rebuilding versus repair. Many of these issues were brought up years ago, and they either never came to fruition or else had to be done in the least costly manner, so they were not addressed with long-term fixes.
...The staff members and the community are asked to voice their opinions regarding prioritizing the needs that have been
identified for each school, as they cannot all be addressed due to funding. Collaboration with the community is important in obtaining successful outcomes in educational issues such as these. A 'facility vision group' composed of staff members will ultimately prioritize school district needs based on input before the information is sent to the state for the bond. The school system is trying to spread awareness to the city residents about the purposes and need for the bond. Dr. Steve
Meyers, Deputy Superintendent, stated, "The proposed bond, if passed, will help provide greater opportunities in our community for Pleasant Hill students to go to school, to learn, to be taught, and to become college-ready. Our schools develop our future."
...There is room for the district to borrow 15 million dollars, but the estimated borrowed figure is much less, with the goal between $10-11 million to ensure financial responsibility. School officials want the public to understand that this bond will not generate a tax increase; this is a ZERO tax increase bond. The schools can pay the money back within the system in time. It is a principle and interest type of bond. They also pointed out that the levy has not been increased in 15 years; ours is the third lowest in Cass County.
...Questions arose regarding the possibility of FEMA assistance. A notice of interest must be generated in order to request assistance, and then every two years to stay on the application list the district would need to re-apply. While it is possible that it could be a future supplement if approved, there are limited funds available due to floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters of late. There could be potential later for FEMA to help Pleasant Hill fund a storm shelter or other emergency-readiness dwelling, but that will not be useful in addressing the immediate needs the district is faced with at this time.
...Regarding enrollment, there have been roughly 2,000 students for about the last ten years now in the Pleasant Hill school system. There is a lot of room for growth; Pleasant Hill has the potential to attract many more families. Growth in the community and schools means growth and support for local businesses and in turn a stronger community generating more internal revenue within the city.
...A survey will be available to the public on the district's website, pleasanthillschools.com under Quick Links, Facility Planning Survey, or go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/PleasantHill_PatronSurvey For people without access to technology, go to the district office at 318 Cedar Street for assistance in voicing your opinion.