MARCUS, Iowa -- Voters in the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn school district will consider $20.1 million in school improvements in a bond issue election Tuesday.
Three measures will be on the ballot: authorization for the district to raise the tax levy rate, $18 million for a new elementary school and high school upgrades and $2.1 million for a community-operated daycare center next to the elementary school.
The levy increase must pass for the construction projects to take place if they are approved.
The proposals are similar to ones that failed in November 2019, when a $14.2 million bond issue for a new elementary building and high school upgrades was approved 550-377, but failed by nine votes to gain to 60% majority needed to pass. A $5.6 million proposal for the daycare center and a new high school gymnasium failed on a 462-456 vote.
District superintendent Dan Barkel said the proposals are similar this time, but the gym has been removed from the daycare facility bond issue. He said the increased asking for the elementary and high school construction was attributed mainly to inflation of construction costs.
The needs remain to either replace or update buildings that were built in 1954 and 1962, he said.
"I think there's a greater realization from the public for the need and necessity to make improvements," Barkel said. "The district has spent tens of thousands of dollars to keep our heating system going and also a lot of plumbing expense."
The daycare facility would be operated by a community-based group and would provide needed daycare services in the district.
Despite a sharing agreement with the neighboring Remsen-Union district, the ballot measures will not go before Remsen-Union voters, so any potential tax increase would be paid by MMC property owners alone. Under the agreement, the districts share grades 5-12. The MMCRU high school is in Marcus and the middle school in Remsen. Each district operates its own elementary school.
If approved, construction would likely begin in spring 2022 and take approximately two years. The elementary school would be finished for the second semester of the 2022-2023 school year. The current elementary building would be demolished after the new one is built.