Citizens in Deweyville approved a $7 million school bond on Saturday, May 1. The bond was passed almost four to one by the voters.
The bond will allow the Deweyville School Trustees to address loans taken following the catastrophic flood of 2016 that devastated the district’s elementary school. The flood cost the Deweyville Independent School District around $30 million.
At the start of the recovery, FEMA committed to covering 75 percent of the $30 million. Five years later the federal government is now below 50 percent on helping pay the costs.
Deweyville School Superintendent Keith Jones indicated the issues with FEMA have caused the district to take out loans to pay the $30 thousand a month rent on the FEMA trailers that comprise the current Deweyville Elementary School campus. Jones said this was money intended to pay for teacher salaries and student programs.
Jones is thankful the citizens of Deweyville have pride in their schools. “We figured out we could wrap some existing debt with a little bit of new money, and it would go almost entirely to the energy and timber corporations with very little impact on homeowners. We decided to put it out there and let the community decide. They decided overwhelmingly that it was the right thing to do. We are fortunate to have a community that places such high value on public education,” Jones responded.
Over the last couple of years Deweyville schools have used innovative financial strategies to completely overhaul the high school campus. Jones reported new chillers and new HVAC systems have been installed. New high efficiency LED lighting indoors and outside are part of the overall school campus. The athletics complex was overhauled and improvement to the bus fleet are being made according to Jones.
Next school year the newest addition to the Deweyville School District will be the grand opening of the beautiful Deweyville Elementary School. The building is nearly complete and will be a great improvement over the current FEMA trailer elementary campus.
Superintendent Jones stated that even with the bond approved on Saturday, May 1, the Deweyville citizens will still pay a really low tax rate which will have dropped by about 23 cents since the 2016 flood. Jones concluded, “Things are looking great heading into the upcoming school year.”
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-