This is blog for brandoninfo.com, a website dedicated to news in the Brandon community. Contributers include the staff of the Argus Leader, the Brandon Valley Challenger and the website itself.

School bond

October 23rd, 2013 by Alica

The Brandon Valley school board has set Dec. 3 for $5.95 million school bond vote for a new school for grades five and six. The entire project is estimated at $12 million – they’ll use $6.1 million in capital outlay money.

The board wants to start construction next spring so the school can be ready for students in fall 2015. Taking fifth grade out of the elementaries and sixth grade out of the middle school will free up space in those buildings and relieve the need for a new elementary school in the near future, Brandon Valley officials say.

A study has shown that the best site for the new school would be in the area where Robert Bennis Elementary is.

How do you feel about your property taxes going up to pay for a new school? How do you feel about separating the fifth- and sixth-graders from the other grades? How do you feel about another school in the Robert Bennis area?

And how do you feel about a school bond vote coming right on the heels of Tuesday’s city bond vote for more than $14 million for Aspen Park Improvements? Would you vote for one, the other, neither or both? Why?

Posted in Uncategorized, School business |

51 Responses

  1. paul Says:

    Yes to the school….no to the park

  2. Mitch Says:

    Might be time to move.

  3. Anonymous Says:


    Info about the school bond vote. Lets see, $28 per $100k for for a school we need or $300 per $100k for a Cadillac baseball complex we don’t need. HMMMMM…seems like a no brainer to me. Yes to the school no to the ball park.
    Hopefully after the park bond is defeated they go back to the drawing board and come back with a scaled down, realistic plan for Aspen because it could definitely use the help.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    #3…they already scaled down the project for the park…the initial pricetag for the park was $17 million

  5. Anon Says:

    Yes to the school and No to the park.

  6. Just wondering... Says:

    I am all for the new school but wonder if there is enough road infrastructure in the R. Bennis area to handle all the additional traffic. Will our county and city taxes increase to build more roads? Will Maple be paved all the way to Six Mile (county)?

  7. @16 Says:

    ..Link to information about the school…?

  8. Just wondering... Says:

    See post 3 above for the link.

  9. @16 Says:

    Link goes to the school site. Where is it located there. .?

  10. Just wondering... Says:

    #9 Supe’s On on the right hand side.

  11. Brian Says:

    Looking to relocate to your area from Pennsylvania for a job. Brandon is our first choice currently. If park bond passes with BIG tax increase,we’ll pass on Brandon and look at other nearby towns. This will hurt your real estate values if it passes, and if I buy here,mine too.

  12. David Pappone Says:

    Just to be clear, the bond issue amount being requested from the voters is $5,950,000 NOT $12,000,000. The school district is using other funding sources in the Capital Outlay Fund to make up the difference between the total cost of the proposed school and the bond. The Capital Outlay portion of the funding does not result in any increase in property tax. The district is sensitive to the property tax burden and is asking for only a portion of the cost from voters. The current pricing on the bond, with today’s interest rates, would be about $28 per year on a $100,000 valuation–less than 8 cents per day.

  13. WJ Says:

    Unfortunately, and unlike the school board, the mayor and city council apparently have no sensitivity to either the property tax burden or that some folks are still trying to recover from the economic troubles in our nation. Everyone assumes that Brandon is affluent, but there are alot of people of all ages and income levels in town that will struggle to pay the tax increase for Aspen Park. I support the school tax increase because I see it as necessary for the continued growth and success of our community. Does Aspen Park need help? Yes it does, but not at the price or with the burden our mayor and city council wants to impose upon the taxpayers.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I think an intermediate school will serve the district well. I’m concerned about the proposed location, however. I’m not sure proper consideration has been given to putting it near the middle school.

  15. Tom Says:

    Should have thought twice about retiring to a bedroom community. When will human beings ever learn to realize that so much of the current financial burden in our society is related to their urge to procreate??? Taxation. taxation, taxation…stop it already!

  16. Anon Says:

    A growing community will need new schools. If you don’t think they should be funded by property tax increases, by all means voice your opinion, but offer a solution that is more reasonable than “stop having kids”. That is just ridiculous.

  17. Christina Says:

    #14 A facility committee met this spring/summer to come up with this plan. The majority of the conversation was not about if we needed an intermediate school, but where to put it and the middle school site was discussed at length. In the end, there just isn’t enough room at the middle school site to build the intermediate school there.

  18. @16 Says:

    …So wait…it’s a tax increase per year of $28 bucks per 100k…seems oddly low..

    What is the duration of it….?

  19. Just wondering... Says:

    #18 You need to read post #12 from Superintendent Pappone. The school district does a great job of being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers.

  20. a Says:

    to #18–the reason the cost to taxpayers is so low is because the school district is using money they already have to fund a portion of the project

  21. Tom Says:

    OK. Solution = let parents pay for the schools (brick/mortar plus staffing) through tuition.

  22. Anon Says:

    Is that how your parents funded your education? I assume, based on your prior post, that you have no kids, but if you do, is that how you funded their education? Your suggestion that parents fund the schools through tuition is a call to abolish a system of public education that has been established at a national level, and is no more reasonable than your suggestion that people stop having kids.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    So we can build a school for 12 million, but it would take 14 million to build 4 ball fields and perform general maintenance to the pool along with making the pool a zero depth entry. The city council is looking worse all the time.

  24. Anon Says:

    Let’s not completely trivialize the ballfield project. Expensive it is, but it includes more than “4 ball fields” and some changes to the pool. The total pricetag includes, essentailly, a comlete re-furbish of the existing ball complex, including re-grading, crowning, irrigation system, drainage, paved parking, covered seating, new playground, ADA compliant side-walks, additional ball fields, the purchase of the ground on which to build the new ballfields, the construction of a city street (which should have been constructed years ago), and modficiations to the pool.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    @17. I’m aware of the committee and its workings. I believe their findings were not as cut and dried as they’ve been portrayed to be. I’m still not sure proper consideration has been given to location. I’m disappointed that outrage about the ballfields is overshadowing discussion of the school. I hope that will change after the October 27 vote. I love living in a community that is so supportive of its school, and my hope is that we will be very thoughtful of all aspects of the project.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I am for the school proposal and against the ballfield proposal. I have a hard time understanding why the people pushing for the baseball complex don’t see this as their project to fundraise for and why the improvements couldn’t be something done in small increments as they are able to get sponsors or fundraise. The proposed ballfields are not a top priority to everyone and it seems like poor judgement for them to want to burden the brandon tax payers with something like this.

  27. Thomas Says:

    Can we spend some money on the retention ponds, I am tired of smelling all the “poop” when the wind direction and weather changes?

  28. Driver Says:

    Amen Tom!

  29. Daren Says:

    I’ve already had a neighbor leave the city of Brandon and move away because property taxes got too high on the house that they were purchasing; this wouldn’t make it any better. We’ve been pretty good about building projects but I have to say no on this one as it would be a burden on me financially with the increased taxes on top of other tax increases.

    When the city stopped building the middle class affordible homes and started builfing the large houses by the golf course, the bluffs etc… I have to wonder who they are trying to attract to live in the city? I live in the old central part of the city and had to replace my main sewer line from my housse like a lot of others have had to do and there was no help from the city for that; I had to shoulder all of the costs.
    Some people want a sidewalk all of the way from the bluffs to the schools for safety yet the central part has never had sidewalks and we have to walk in the streets (which isn’t safe either).
    I’d say let’s come up with programs to help the existing infrastructure before we start talking about adding baseball complexes and pool improvements. It seems frivilious when considering the city as a whole.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Yes to the school, NO WAY to the park!!

  31. C Says:

    So where do we vote no to the park? I cannot find any information about it. Vote is today!!!

  32. Guest Says:


  33. Anonymous Says:

    Why doesn’t the city website have ANY information on the park vote? It should list where to vote, time, etc. Shouldn’t there be information shared with the citizens?

  34. C Says:

    I agree #33. Only knew about this because Kelo mentioned something on the news this morning. Had no idea the vote was today and not next week.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    #33 Because they wanted to slip it by us. Bet the Softball and Baseball Association parents knew exactly where and when to vote!

  36. Angela Says:

    #35. Yes they do and every parent that has had a child in either baseball or softball. The last few weeks I have gotten a ton of emails about voting.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    #36. My point exactly Angela! If only the City of Brandon was as diligent to inform its residents of when the informational meetings were going to be, when the vote was going to be and where to vote as the Associations were to their members!

  38. Anon Says:

    I don’t think we need to worry about this one passing. Just because there are young families in town with children who play ball — they are the same ones who can’t afford for their taxes to go up. Better to have fewer diamonds for 3 months and more schools. Kindergarten classes sizes are ridiculous. I’m giving credit to the people of Brandon that they will do the right thing. The school is a yes vote and the park is a no vote.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Shame on the city of Brandon. This should never have been put up for a vote. It was rresponsible and a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    #38 that’s what happens when you turn Kindergarten into an all day daycare. Class size has to grow.

  41. Just wondering... Says:

    It would helpful if the City would have their own FaceBook site. It would be very easy and quick to maintain. People who are interested in what is happening in Brandon could be “friends”. Other towns have them and their residents are kept informed. It is up to the minute information. Time for the leaders of the town to join the current century versus keeping their residents (taxpayers) in the dark.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    I am glad that the bond issue did not pass, I think that they were trying to bundle way too many things together and put too much burden on the backs of the taxpayers. However, the comments regarding not knowing there was a vote or when/where it was are completely out of line. You couldn’t enter or leave Brandon without seeing the date of the vote and if you cared about knowledge regarding the bond vote it was readily available. It is not the responsibility of someone else to make sure you are informed it is yours. Please take the time to look into the school bond vote on December 3rd.

  43. Anon Says:

    #42 While I agree with you that it is each individual’s responsibility to be informed, it IS the responsibility of the CITY to make certain information is put out there so people CAN become informed. The signs you refer to were put up and paid for by citizens-NOT the City.

    WHY wasn’t there ONE mention of the vote (time, place, date) on the City website? Isn’t that their responsibility?

    Why wasn’t there ANY reminder of the vote on the BrandonInfo page Monday or Tuesday? The City (or promoters of this project) should have asked the newspaper to put this on the Brandoninfo webpage.

    The only information I received on voting was from the citizen paid for signs and emails from friends. Pathetic.

    Brandon citizens DESERVE better.

  44. Dad Says:

    Here’s my two cents, if you don’t believe we need new schools shame on you. If you think your taxes are to high because of the school, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Love to see the threats of looks like I need to move. Really because that will solve the issue moving!

  45. Anonymous Says:

    Here are my two cents, shared as respectfully as possible. The leaders in city government did a very poor job on this one, remember that folks. Open government with fiscally responsible decisions is what made this the great community it is today, lets not loose that, just because city hall is drinking at the bar with the “in crowd”. Make your voice heard, get out and vote for open council positions. No person should be re-elected, NONE, period. A completely new city council is needed and the mayor needs to retire, you have done your job, but now the crowd that hangs out in your backyard each football game is influencing your judgement way too much. It is very easy and part of our human nature to try and please everybody, but, when you are in an elected position it is your duty to do what is best for the the whole community, not just your drinking buddies. Please get out and vote in the next city elections, lets take our town back, and let it continue to prosper.

  46. paul Says:

    #45…Just an FYI, as someone who does hang out in the backyard of the mayor for games and is a friend of the his, there wasn’t one amongst us that backed this last vote. We have no problem telling him when something the city does is rediculous(i.e. golf course, plowing and such). We told him there was no way this was passing and he agreed. You have to remember, the only way the mayor gets to vote is when there is a tye vote, and that rarely happens. Maybe he has been mayor long enough, I don’t know why anyone would want the job with all the “stick up your ass” people in this town. But I defineately agree the council members all need to go as they come up for re-election.

  47. paul Says:

    #45…Just an FYI, as someone who does hang out in the backyard of the mayor for games and is a friend of the his, there wasn’t one amongst us that backed this last vote. We have no problem telling him when something the city does is rediculous(i.e. golf course, plowing and such). We told him there was no way this was passing and he agreed. You have to remember, the only way the mayor gets to vote is when there is a tye vote, and that rarely happens. Maybe he has been mayor long enough, I don’t know why anyone would want the job with all the “stick up your butt” people in this town. But I defineately agree the council members all need to go as they come up for re-election.

  48. paul Says:

    sorry…doulble clicked the submit button

  49. Alica Says:

    The mayor comes up for election again in 2015. The councilors’ seats come up for election in rotation. You can find out when each person’s term ends by checking out “mayor and council” at brandonsd.com.

  50. David Pappone Says:

    The Brandon Valley School District has created an information page regarding the proposed intermediate school. We will add information as it is developed between now and the election. You can link to the page at: http://bvintermediateschool.blogspot.com/

  51. Anon Says:

    #51 Thank you for sharing this link. It is nice to have correct information, from the source, on this upcoming vote.

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