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Mike Anderson, KSL News

District hopes Cache County voters will approve bond for 2 new schools

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Nov 4th, 2013 @ 5:59pm

LOGAN — Major overcrowding in the Cache County School District has lead to multimillion-dollar bond being placed on the election ballot.

Voters who live in the district boundaries will decide Tuesday whether they will fund the proposal to build two new high schools on the north and south ends of the Cache Valley.

The $129 million 2013 School Bond is actually the most expensive solution the school district could come up with, but administrators are trying to convince the voters that it will be the best option in the long run.

At the South Cache 8-9 Center, crowded hallways and portable classrooms have become the norm. The school even keeps a staggered bell schedule for each grade so these halls don't get too full.

Becky Neilson and Toni Gibbons are both parents who sat on a committee that recommended the Cache County School District get two new high schools.

"What that will do is extend the life of our schools for much longer than five years, where all the other options were about five years," Neilson said.

"We're at 95 percent or higher (capacity), which means we're putting portables on secondary schools right now — particularly on the south end of the valley."

Both she and Gibbons already have students at Sky View High School in Smithfield.

"My oldest is a sophomore; and it is so crowded at the school she can't get to her locker. (She) just carries her books, carries her backpack," Gibbons said.

A proposed bond would build two identical new high schools — one to the south in Millville; another in North Logan.

"It's really, really crowded. And there will be more opportunities for kids to participate with the school," Gibbons said. "Our kids will go to the same school they go to now. It will be just a little less crowded."

Without some kind of solution, school district leaders say the overcrowding will only get worse. The schools are already at capacity, they say.

"We're at 95 percent or higher, which means we're putting portables on secondary schools right now — particularly on the south end of the valley. That's where our highest population of secondary students are right now," said Mike Liechty, deputy superintendent of the Cache County School District.

While a district-wide survey found an overwhelming majority of residents support the bond proposal, district officials will still have to hope the voters are willing to pay the extra taxes.

The bond would also pay for some overdue seismic upgrades at some of the older elementary schools. If passed, a new high school could be finished in Millville in 2016; the one in North Logan would come a year later.

Voters should be aware there are no polling locations in Cache County for Tuesday's election. All ballots were sent in the mail and need to have been postmarked by Monday.

If you haven't mailed your ballot, you can drop it off Tuesday at the Cache County Clerk's Office, 179 N. Main Street, any time between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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