Linn-Mar seeking public input on proposed grade restructuring, facility plan

Cost of facilities changes put as high as $67 million

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By Kevin Kane, correspondent

MARION — Linn-Mar school board members, at a work session this week, reached consensus to put a proposed grade restructuring and facilities plan out for public scrutiny and comment.

The proposal, called Scenario 3 or Option 3, will be discussed over the next several weeks at various parent-teacher organization (PTO) and other meetings.

It also will be the topic of a districtwide forum scheduled for 5 p.m. Sept. 19 in the boardroom at the district’s Learning Resource Center, 2999 N. 10th St.

If the proposal survives public scrutiny, it could be incorporated into the district’s overall strategic plan with a board vote in October.

Linn-Mar currently has seven elementary schools serving either kindergarten or prekindergarten through fifth grades, two middle schools for sixth through eighth grades, and a single high school for ninth through 12th grades.

Under Option 3, ninth grade would be removed from the newly remodeled high school, allowing for future growth without having to build a second high school.

Excelsior Middle School would be reconfigured as an eighth and ninth grade center. Among other things, Excelsior was chosen for the two-grade school because of its proximity to Linn-Mar High School.

Oak Ridge Middle School would be reconfigured to house grades five through seven. A second middle school, serving the same three grades, would have to be constructed.

Fifth grade would removed from the elementary schools, freeing up space and putting off the need to build an eighth elementary school.

Cost for all the changes is estimated at between $36 million and $67 million.

At some point, a bond referendum requiring a 60 percent positive vote would be needed to complete the project.

District officials estimate that a successful bond vote could add up to $188 annually to the tax bill of the owner of a $250,000 home.

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