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Voters to decide on school bond

CLINTON — This September, voters in the Clinton Public School District will head to the polls for a school bond referendum.

School board members Tuesday passed a bond resolution seeking $23.5 million to build a new elementary school and make improvements to two existing schools. The referendum will be held Sept. 14.

“We’re at the point now where we can’t afford not to make these improvements in our schools,” said Dr. Phil Burchfield, superintendent of schools.

A comprehensive facilities study conducted in 2009 outlined major structural deficiencies at Northside Elementary School, and included an engineer’s recommendation that the building be razed. If the bond issue passes, Burchfield said, the district will use the funds to build a new elementary school combining Northside and Eastside schools onto one campus, using the school-within-a-school model.

“The new school would have some shared spaces, including the cafeteria, media center and gym, but classrooms for grades 2-3 would be on one side of the campus and classrooms for grades 4-5 would be on the other,” he said. “It would be two schools with two principals, but with some common areas.”

The Clinton Public School District serves approximately 4,700 students in grades pre-K through 12. The new school would house roughly 1,500 students in grades 2-5, and would be sited on Arrow Drive between Clinton High School and Clinton Park Elementary School.

“Because this is 16th section land, we would not have to purchase any property to build the new school,” said Sandy Halliwell, finance director.

If the bond issue passes, construction on the new school would begin in Spring 2011 and would be complete in about a year-and-a-half. The school bond money will also be used for electrical upgrades at Sumner Hill ninth-grade school and at Clinton Junior High School.

Existing facilities on the Eastside campus will be converted to house the Clinton Alternative School, as well as the district’s administrative offices. Upgrades to allow for this move will come through Qualified School Construction Bond funds, so that 100 percent of the general obligation bond money could be used for student services.

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