Storm Lake voters to decide high school renovation funding - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Storm Lake voters to decide potential funding for high school renovation

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Storm Lake high school students learn in one the many classrooms inside a 50-year-old building. District officials hope ballot measures will create money for renovations. Storm Lake high school students learn in one the many classrooms inside a 50-year-old building. District officials hope ballot measures will create money for renovations.
STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) -

The public high school in Storm Lake is hoping to renovate its 50-year-old building. District officials are hoping a vote on Tuesday will jumpstart the project in the spring.

"We want to give our kids the very best opportunities, the very best experiences," said Beau Ruleaux, Storm Lake High School Principal.

But there's one small problem.

"There's been a lot of changes, since our building was built in 1962," said Dr. Carl Turner, Storm Lake School Superintendent.

Plus, it's crowded.

"Right now, our building is tapped out, as far as capacity for students," said Ruleaux.

High School Principal Ruleaux said there are no empty classrooms during the day.

"We have a very large class in the elementary of over 200 students that will be coming up," he said.

So, in order to expand, Ruleaux and Turner are asking for help from voters.

"You don't want your students to be at a disadvantage, compared to other students around," said Turner.

On Tuesday, Storm Lake residents will vote on three measures. Two involve increasing a property tax levy in the short and long-term from 17 cents to a $1.34 per $1,000.

"That'll raise a million and a half for the project and then the extension would raise an additional $5 million for the project," said Turner.

The other issue deals with a penny sales tax.

"As I've told people over and over again, whether you vote for it or against it, you're still going to pay the one cent sales tax," said Turner.

"All this vote is doing is allowing the district to determine how to use that one cent," said Ruleaux.

If that measure is approved, the school would have $11 million to renovate. That could mean wider hallways, refurbished classrooms, and several other upgrades.

One of the perks with the renovation would be replacing the auditorium. The school has been using the one at the old high school across town, and they have to pay an extra $60,000 a year just to maintain it.

"We need to upgrade our building, so that our students can get every opportunity they can, that we can keep up with our neighbors," said Ruleaux.

If none of the measures pass, officials say those problems won't go away.  Board members would have to go back to the drawing board.

Polls are open on Tuesday, December 4th, from noon to 8 p.m.  Each one requires a simple majority to pass.

Storm Lake's enrollment has remained steady over the past three years.  However, it's 80 students this year.  The current enrollment is 650 this year, up from 570 in the 2011-12 school year.

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