October Superintendent's Corner
In November 2023, Friend Public School will be conducting a bond election. Specifically, the bond will be for 5 years and will be for $400,000. No tax increase will be included with the bond program. The main purpose of the bond will be to put in two new playground areas for our students. We will remove the existing equipment and put in newer, safer, more updated equipment. The new equipment will include one area that has more typical playground items for our younger students to play on. The other portion of the playground will have apparatus more geared to older students including equipment that encourages exercise activities. Cost of the playground equipment which also includes removal of the current equipment as well as installation of the new equipment will be about $330,000. All new equipment will be ADA-compliant.
About $70,000 of the project will go towards the purchase of 5 new HVAC units. In the fall of 2022, we completed an audit of all HVAC units throughout the district. We identified about 15 units that were anywhere from 23-30 years of age. Last year, we used COVID relief funds to purchase 6 units. With the 5 that we would get through your support of the bond program, we will be in pretty good shape. Like everything else, the costs of HVAC units have increased significantly over the last few years. We would have a hard time replacing this many units within the framework of our regular budget. The purchase of the new units will also help us to greatly reduce the amount of maintenance costs we spend each year on HVAC-related needs.
We want to be clear in regards to not increasing taxes. The support of this bond will not impact the tax rate you are currently paying. Over the last few years, home values and appraisals have gone up astronomically. As your property values increase, so will your taxes. Friend Public School has no involvement in determining the values of the property. This bond proposal will not increase the rate at which you currently pay taxes.
The addition of a new playground will be a great way to not only provide a better service to our existing students but it will also promote the district in a positive way. One factor that contributes to where students go to school is the facilities of a district. By having current and inviting facilities, we are ensuring that we continue to make our district attractive to potential students/consumers. A healthy enrollment is vital to the longevity of a school district, particularly one as small as we are.
The date for the election will be Tuesday, Nov. 14th. You can go to the regular polling places, which are primarily Sharon Baptist Church for Friend School District. Voting times are from 7:00 AM through 7:00 PM. We encourage everyone to get out and vote. Please let me know if you have any questions.