Council election, possible bond issue vote, in 2018
It is a new year, which means it is time to look ahead at what is coming up over the next 12 months.
Yuma School District-1 could be presenting a bond issue to the voters again in 2018, similar to the one that was defeated by less than 100 votes in the November 2016 election. The Yuma-1 Board of Education will be studying the feasibility over the next few months. It begins Monday when the board will hold a work session prior to its regular monthly meeting. The building consultants will be in attendance to begin looking at the potential of a successful bond election. Whether or not to move ahead will be decided by the board at a later date.
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said the focus will be figuring out a strategic plan in order to make a detailed, informative presentation to the public.
I think having that will be a big help, she said.
The district also will explore all grant sources, and other potential funding.
Any project again will focus on renovation and expansion of Yuma High School and the surrounding campus. The 2016 bond issue was for $17 million.
In the meantime, the district will continue addressing some facility needs that are part of any potential bond issue. Work began Monday on replacing one boiler at Yuma Middle School that heats the junior high wing west of the main office and the gymnasium. The replacement was to be part of the last phase of the districts heating and cooling upgrades, but the boiler was in need of immediate attention, so the district is covering the whole cost of $134,822. Temporary heaters have been set up in those parts of YMS during the project.
More work is scheduled to begin in the spring. The entire boiler system at YMS will be replaced. Chrisman said the district will be applying for BEST funds to help with the $500,000 project, with the hope that approximately half of the project cost will be reimbursed. The BEST application will be submitted in February, and the grants are approved in late spring.
In regards to education in the classroom, the Yuma-1 Board will begin learning sessions at its regular meetings to better understand district functions, as well as identify potential barriers to success. The Career Technical Education programs will make presentations at the Monday meeting. The idea is for the board to use the information to help mold future goals and budget prioritization.
Chrisman said the district will continue enhancing its existing programs and curriculum, but does not anticipate any significant changes to the curriculum.
The staff will continue with the Visible Learning professional development that was started this school year. Visible learning provides an in-depth review and change model for schools based on research by John Hattie. The training helps staff determine the impact it is having on student learning.
We want our students doing meaningful and relevant work and to specifically be able to work through hard problems/questions with success, Chrisman said.
The visible learning training helps staff to communicate with students about their learning, including their strengths and struggles, so the teachers can support individual learning.
We have a strong, dedicated staff of teachers and support staff who work very hard to ensure all of our students have the best opportunity to exceed, Chrisman said. This focus with research backing should take us to the next level instructionally.
At first it seems 2018 will be a rather ho-hum year with no major projects on the horizon.
However, digging a little deeper reveals there could be several noteworthy developments this year.
One that is going to happen for sure is stop lights will be re-installed at the S. Main-W. Second Ave. intersection in downtown Yuma. City Manager Scott Moore has found a company that will sell the arms that will be attached to the unconventional poles located on each corner of the intersection. The arms were ordered Monday, but Moore said it is unclear how long it will be before they arrive.
The Yuma City Council could take on a different look in 2018 as there will be a municipal election on April 3. There are four seats up for election, three carrying four-year terms and one with a two-term (after which that seat will return to a regular four-year cycle). Potential candidates have until 5 p.m. January 22 to enter the race. Petition packets are available at City Hall, 910 S. Main St.
Also, one has until March 12 to register to vote, which is for those who have moved into town since the last election.
Proposed rate increases for water, wastewater and sanitation will go before the council for possible approval in 2018. Moore said that if all goes as planned, the wastewater increase will be done later in the year so the rate increases do not hit at all once.
The city manager said a major focus will be explaining to the public the reason for the proposed rate increases which is to raise funds in order to replace two blocks of water and sewer line each year.
In more utility rate news, Moore said there is no need for an electrical rate increase in 2018, nor in the next few years.
The new year could see progress in the city council, staff and the Yuma Museum Board working together to determine how to meet the museums need for more space.
While not technically a city project, it also is expected that KCI will complete the installation of fiber optics to all areas of Yuma in 2018, offering robust broadband connections for any who want it.