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Papillion-La Vista bond vote clears the way for safety improvements, building additions

May 17, 2018 GMT

Safety projects are likely to be the first addressed as the Papillion-La Vista school board spends the $109.9 million bond issue approved Tuesday.

The bond issue passed overwhelmingly.

For property owners, the vote means a 4-cent increase in the tax levy, or $60 on a $150,000 house.

“My strong sense is that some of the safety projects would receive first priority,” Superintendent Andy Rikli said. “For example, we know that some of the locks at some of our elementary buildings need to be replaced immediately. Some of those projects could be done as early as this summer.”

Some elementary buildings that are “bursting at the seams,” like Anderson Grove, also could be a top priority, he said.

Then officials would look at other projects, like additions to the high schools, he said. The Papio South addition would probably start slightly ahead of Papillion-La Vista High because it has more students and is growing faster, he said.

About half of the bond money will pay for the expansions: 18 classrooms at Papillion-La Vista and 22 at Papio South.

The plan calls for allowing enrollment to rise at each school to at least 2,000. Right now, enrollment is 1,750 at Papillion-La Vista High and 1,800 at Papio South.

The bond issue includes money to buy land for a third high school.

”I’m humbled and I’m gratified. This is the single biggest proposal that the district has ever put before its voters,” Rikli said. “We knew that we were running a risk asking for a bond issue this large. We knew it was particularly risky asking in May when we typically have lower voter turnout. But we also knew there was urgency to the bond projects.”

Tim Gay, co-chair of the pro-bond committee, said voters showed that “they’re not afraid to invest in our own community.”

”It shows also that the school district, the teachers and the staff, are doing a great job,” he said.

For complete coverage, go to omaha.com/election.