WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — Parents say there’s no doubt Woodford County needs a new high school, but how will this new school be funded?
A community forum was held Tuesday to discuss funding options, construction plans, and address questions.
Sarah McCoun, parent and alumni of Woodford County high school, says “There’s not much doubt that we need a new high school, but I would say I’m motivated, not to be in a hurry, I think we have to do this in the right way.”
During the district meeting, five funding options were addressed.
Option 1 and 2 would require cuts to general funding or student programs to avoid continued deficit spending.
While these options would provide the county with a brand-new school and updated safety features, the district says these options would utilize all bonding capacity which would prohibit the district’s ability to address future needs.
A third option looks to introduce between a 5 and 6 cent tax increase, otherwise known as nickel tax.
In 2018, the nickel tax option was voted on and it failed by a little more than 300 votes. Option 3 would include a brand-new school and allows the district to not only deal with short term needs but facility needs well into the future.
The fourth proposed option would require phased construction to the existing high school. At Tuesday’s forum, the district said this option would reduce the stress on its general fund, but it would also lengthen the amount of time required for project completion.
Kevin Locke, architect and head of Woodford County’s design team, says the Kentucky Department of Education limits the cost of school renovations to 80 percent of what a new building would cost which would allow up to $35,588,066 in renovations. Option 2 of the funding options proposed up to $50.8 million in total project costs.
Waiting altogether is what the fifth option proposes. The school district says this would lengthen the amount of time students will remain in the high schools’ current conditions which have brought bats, mold, and flooding to the school’s halls. The district adds that it could also see an increase in construction costs overtime.
“The decisions that we make as far as the budget and what we can afford are going to have a lasting impact on our community,” says McCoun. “So, it’s not something that should be done quickly or without a whole lot of thought.”
For more information on the district’s funding options, construction, planning, or progress, visit www.newwoodfordhs.com .