Beginning at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, voters will decide on a proposed $11-million bond to build a new elementary school on the north side of the Tea Area School District. The proposed plan will expand the current elementary school, which they say is running out of room and put a new performing arts center in the Tea Area High School.
There is a group of 29 homeowners in the Westwood Valley subdivision that are against this proposed bond. The group says they don't want to see the $11-million bond pass. They say the cost of building the school is too high and it would raise taxes. If the bond passes it would increase taxes $134 annually for a home worth $100,000.
The homeowners also say they have concerns about the students leaving the elementary school, that is proposed to be located just south of the Family Wellness Center just off of Tea Ellis Road, having to bus to the middle school and high school that are located in Tea.
The Westwood Valley subdivision neighbors who are against the bond also are concerned about the safety of the elementary students because the school district proposes the building it sits near a pond.
“Children in grade K-4 are curious and I'm concerned about everybody in the subdivision having to walk to that school or get to that school somehow,” Westwood Valley subdivision homeowner Chad Zortman said.
“Our question to them was, ‘This is a concern of yours now?' You live in this neighborhood now with this open pond. So why would putting a school there it become an issue?’” Tea Area School Board President John Herr said.
The school district says if this vote passes, they will put adequate protection around the pond. The school district is pushing for this to pass because they say the district is growing rapidly at six percent each year.
“We need more permanent classrooms in Tea and we have the need in the north part of the district,” Herr said.
“It is essentially going to be unattended because right there are not enough students to fill this school,” Zortman said.
The bond needs 60 percent of the vote to pass. Voters can cast their ballot at the Tea Area Business office. Polls close Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.