Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Lakota wants resident input before acting on ballot issue

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP - Increasing construction costs may make it impossible for Lakota Schools to fund a building package at the same price it projected last year.

Before making any decision on a November ballot issue, board members say they want to update project costs and talk to residents.

"We need to be looking at the numbers," said board member Dan Warncke during a recent work session. "Costs are up for structural steel."

In March, residents turned down a combination ballot issue that would have provided $21 million for day-to-day operations and $84.9 million for construction. Planned were three new elementary schools, two of which would replace Union and Liberty; additions to Lakota East and West high schools and other renovations.

Superintendent Kathleen Klink said she had already contacted architects Steed-Hammond-Paul and requested an update on costs.

The district may also be facing increased costs because interest rates are higher than they were in December when administrators put together the levy package, said board member Jeff Jones.

A group of volunteers is surveying residents now on district needs, Klink said. This week, focus groups with staff members are being conducted.

Three meetings to get input from the community on space needs and operations are tentatively set for June 15, 24 and 30 at 7 p.m. Locations have not been set.

The deadline for putting an issue on the November ballot is Aug. 19.

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