School levy up for consideration

BLOOMINGDALE – Voters within the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School District can vote on a 1-mill, seven-year operating levy on the May 7 ballot.

The school has about 400 students from both Jefferson and Harrison counties.

The levy, if approved, would net the vocational school about $1 million annually, with two-thirds of the funds going toward operations and the remaining one-third going toward permanent improvements, according to Dale Edwards, superintendent.

“We reduced the number of years the levy is active from 10 years to seven years,” said Edwards, adding the levy failed in the past because some voters were uncomfortable with the levy’s length. “We heard that was a concern, and we wanted to show taxpayers we would be good stewards with their funds.”

Edwards said replacement of the main building’s roof was the No. 1 priority.

“Replacing the roof is a major project that must be completed, and the sooner the better,” said Edwards. “It’s a project that has been estimated to cost more than $1 million.

“The roof area measures approximately 110,000 square feet,” he continued. “All sections of the building have been experiencing leaks, which have been patched. But this is only a temporary fix, and additional leaks occur in different areas frequently.”

Edwards also said the water leaks damage insulation and ceiling tiles, which then have to be replaced. Another expense is vocational lab equipment that must be repaired, updated and/or replaced.

“Our craft advisory committees has been instrumental in making recommendations on how improvements must be made in each of the programs currently being offered to students,” Edwards said. “With the growing influence of the gas and oil industry in the area, current programs need to expand and additional programs added in order to meet the demands of business and the industry.

“The workplace requires skilled workers, and the JVS can be an excellent place where students can receive the training needed to be successful in the workplace,” continued Edwards. “We can protect an investment that has proven to have been a success in the past and create an opportunity for success in the future. The cost of 1 mill to homeowners who are residents in he JVS school district is not very much, but the importance of this 1 mill to our operations is invaluable.”