FAQ

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we have been hearing from community members:

  • Why isn’t the School Board looking at portables?

This question was looked at during Mr. Severson’s tenure and again this past year with the same result. Portables, like one Class A superintendent said, is just a “Band-Aid and not a permanent solution”.  The cost of a 4-classroom portable is, at minimum, $200,000. The New Salem-Almont board felt that this was just a short-term answer.  During this process, the Board did look at possible locations such as the SE corner of the playground and the high school parking lot; both spots make this an isolated location putting the safety of students in jeopardy as well.

 

Why can’t we vote separately on the proposed items, meaning the elementary project vs. H.S. project?

This was a big question for the building committee as well, but the building committee unanimously decided that both projects are needed right now.  The elementary school is in need of more space today and with the larger enrollment coming up to the high school and the lack of quality space for our CTE courses, we felt that both needed to be done now rather than “kick the can” down the road 5 years.

 

Elementary was added on more recently than the High School, so why the elementary again?

The last addition to the elementary was in 2002/2003, with 3 classrooms and a library/computer room. With the increased enrollment, Head Start has left the building and we are still in need of more space for one more regular education classroom along with special education, speech, Title, and preschool programs.  The current plan actually has one extra classroom that we can use for a meeting room but can also make a great spot for the new technology that the workforce desires in the future including robotics and STEM labs.

 

The buildings were good enough in the past when enrollment numbers were high, it should be good enough now.

Education has changed since the 1960’s and today, space is critical for a learning environment.  The straight rows of desks are long gone and today we encourage collaboration as teachers become more of a facilitator. Education no longer focuses on just the “average student”, we have programs to help the students who struggle and have created opportunities for students to continue to soar.

 

New Salem people – saying this is bad timing due to water/sewer upgrades going on currently – too many tax increases at one time right now.

The increase of taxes has always been in the back of the committee’s mind.  As farmers, ranchers, and business people, we discussed how this would impact the community of New Salem.  Discussion centered around there not being a right time for an increase of taxes.  The water/sewer upgrades also showed the committee what would happen if we kept pushing the expansion down the road; costs would increase up to 3% each year we put the projects off.  The committee felt that being proactive now, would save money in the long-term, especially with the 2% loan from the state government which can save the school up to 1.23 million dollars or $61,556.00 annually.

 

Are the restrooms and entrance/commons at the High School being addressed?

When the Committee met, there were many projects that they discussed besides the elementary and CTE addition. The small gym at PVE as well as the entrance and commons area were brought up.  In the end, the committee felt that there was only so much we could put on the taxpayers of our district.  I wouldn’t say that this will not happen, but the likelihood is very slim.