In Salmon, a ninth shot at a school bond

Voters in Salmon have said no to school bond issues before.

Eight times, in fact — most recently in March.

The ninth shot comes next week, as the district again seeks help to replace a pair of aging schools with cracked concrete, faulty roofs and wiring. And this time around, there are a couple of twists, as Hannah Furfaro of the Associated Press reported over the weekend.

  • First, voters have a Plan A and a Plan B on the ballot. There’s a $14.5 million option to build a new K-8 school, and a $3.6 million option to replace roofs on the elementary and middle schools.
  • Second, if voters say no again, the state may step in, loaning the district the money to replace the roofs. The state has a revolving loan fund to cover school districts that fail, repeatedly, to pass bond issues. But the state is only willing to pay for replacement roofs, according to the AP.

The roofs are so unstable, reports Furfaro, that the two schools have to cancel classes if the weather forecast calls for more than 3 inches of snow.

But on its website, the district says its problems go beyond the aging roofs.

“The middle school is 75 years old and the Pioneer Elementary School is 55 years old. These facilites are well past the life expectancy of their respective construction types. The structural deficiencies (i.e., foundations cracking and crumbling, concrete walls cracking) are due to 50 plus-year-old concrete, ground settling, and seismic activity.”

As Superintendent Joey Foote told the AP, “I think probably the worst thing we could do is invest another $3.6 million in failing buildings.”

More reading: For more links and news on the upcoming May 21 school elections, click on this roundup.