Elementary 11 Blog

  • Enrollment Considerations: Elementary 11 Bond Referendum

    Posted by Ankeny Community School District on 1/30/2018

    Ankeny remains one of the fastest growing school districts in Iowa. This year enrollment increased by approximately 355 students, making our certified enrollment 11,548 students for the 2017-2018 school year, as reported in the Certified Enrollment Report.


    Since Ankeny is one of the fastest growing cities in Iowa, it is no surprise the school district is growing as well. Our enrollment projections indicate continued growth of more than 1,500 students by the 2021-2022 school year. This growth continues to drive the Ankeny Board of Education’s plans for the future.

     

    On February 6, the district will pursue a bond referendum for elementary 11. A minimum of four elementary buildings will be at capacity by 2020. A new elementary will keep class sizes reasonable, while continuing Ankeny’s tradition of academic excellence. By pursuing a school bond referendum and opening an elementary in 2020-2021, capacity will keep up with enrollment.


    In addition, construction of additions to both high schools will begin in the summer of 2020, to be completed by the fall of 2021. Expanding each of the high school buildings will increase each facility from 1,400 student capacity to 1,860. This expansion plan has allowed us to make sound fiscal decisions by not only considering the cost of building a new facility, but also consider the cost of staffing a facility.


    The Board’s priority is to continue its level of programming, as well as, seeking new and innovative ways to give Ankeny graduates an advantage to prepare for their role in the 21st century.

     

    Elementary buildings projected capacities

     

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  • Elementary 11 Bond Referendum Considerations

    Posted by Ankeny Community School District on 1/16/2018

    The Ankeny Board of Education will put forth a bond referendum to voters on February 6.  If approved, the bond would provide $18 million to design, build, furnish and improve the site of a new elementary school.  Ankeny’s enrollment has grown an average of 400 students for the past five years, yet despite this rapid growth, the Board has pushed back changing boundary lines as long as possible.  In fact, students who are currently in third grade will be the first group of students in more than a decade to go through their entire elementary education without a boundary line change.

     

    With more than 11,500 students in the Ankeny Community School District, we are nearing the point that changes will need to be made in order to accommodate students and ensure a premiere learning environment.  Despite passage or failure of the elementary 11 bond referendum, the district will need to change boundary lines beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.   

     

    Actually, more students will likely change schools in the event of the bond failing than with passage, since the district will go from a ten elementary configuration to nine elementary buildings with Terrace becoming a centralized preschool building in 2020-2021.

     

    The bond referendum on February 6 requires a 60% super-majority “yes” vote in order to pass. If passed, construction of the school will begin fall 2018 and be completed by August 2020.

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  • ACSD Builds: Elementary Bond Referendum Overview

    Posted by Ankeny Community School District on 1/10/2018

    What is Being Proposed?

    The Ankeny Board of Education has called an election on whether to bond for funds to build a new elementary school.  If approved, the bond would provide $18 million to design and build the elementary school.  Use of the bond is limited to these specific purposes. The bond requires a 60% super-majority “yes” vote in order to pass. If passed, construction of the school will begin fall 2018 and be completed by August 2020.  

    Why is this School Being Proposed?

    Ankeny School District enrollment continues to grow at an exponential rate.  An additional school is needed to accommodate the ongoing growth.

    • Enrollment growth has averaged 400+ students annually for the past five years and is expected to grow by an average of 345 students per year over the next five years.  Certified enrollment grew by 355.42 students this year alone.
    • If the school does not open in 2020, a minimum of four of the existing nine elementary schools will exceed their capacity, and we will at the same time begin planning for facility needs at the middle school and high school levels.
    • Alternatives to constructing a school may negatively impact students’ education.

    Homes continue to sell at a rate not seen in other metro area communities.  Building permits are again on the upswing and construction is prevalent throughout the community.  

    Why Now and Not Later?

    At a minimum, it takes 16 months to build an elementary school.  Construction would begin fall 2018 if the bond passes in February.  In order to keep up with enrollment and have the facility open before existing schools run over capacity, the new school must be built now.


    The decision to delay the need for the next elementary by adding on to Prairie Trail and Rock Creek was strategic. When we consider the cost of building an elementary, one thing that does not often get discussed is the cost of staffing a building. This cost is significant and ongoing. Ankeny attracts, recruits, and retains some of the finest teachers in the state of Iowa. In order to continue to do so, thereby ensuring excellence in our educational programming, it is imperative we make strategic, fiscally-sound decisions in growing our district facilities.

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  • Understanding Elementary 11 Facts: Part II

    Posted by Ankeny Community School District on 12/20/2017

    The Ankeny Board of Education will put forth a bond referendum to voters on February 6.  If approved, the bond would provide $18 million to design, build, furnish and improve the site of a new elementary school. Use of the bond is limited to these specific purposes. The bond requires a 60% super-majority “yes” vote in order to pass. If passed, construction of the school will begin spring 2019 and be completed by August 2020.

     

    On Friday, we addressed a few of the myths circulating throughout the community.  As promised, here's a look at some additional myths surrounding the elementary 11 bond.

     

    MYTH: By voting against the bond, we can delay boundary line changes.

    Failure of the bond will also result in boundary line changes, perhaps sooner than they would be implemented with passage of the bond. Therefore, boundary lines will change in 2020-2021 regardless. In fact, more students will likely change schools in the event of the bond failing than with passage, as the district will go from a ten elementary configuration to nine elementary buildings.

     

    MYTH: I only have 6-12 grade kids, so this bond does not affect me.

    The district already knows that the growth will soon be affecting the facility space in the middle schools and high schools. The district is planning for additions on both high schools beginning in 2020, and it will have to begin considering plans for building a third middle school to accommodate growth. In light of these upcoming facility needs, the delay of elementary 11 will either: push all these projects back, which will cause overcrowding at all schools K-12, OR cause the district to pursue less desirable funding plans; for example, seeking several general obligation bonds in a shorter period of time.

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  • Understanding the Facts: Elementary 11

    Posted by Ankeny Community School District on 12/15/2017

    The Ankeny Board of Education will put forth a bond referendum to voters on February 6.  If approved, the bond would provide $18 million to design, build, furnish and improve the site of a new elementary school. Use of the bond is limited to these specific purposes. The bond requires a 60% super-majority “yes” vote in order to pass. If passed, construction of the school will begin spring 2019 and be completed by August 2020.

     

    Today and next week, the district will address some of the myths circulating throughout our community.

     

    MYTH: We live in the north feeder system, so the next elementary won’t affect us.

    Without this elementary, all elementary schools will experience overcrowding, boundary changes, and higher class sizes. When classrooms begin to fill across the district, students from overcrowded schools will be moved to schools with space; regardless of whether they are in the north or south. Without elementary 11, some students may attend schools that are not in their feeder system.

     

    MYTH: If the elementary 11 bond referendum fails, Terrace will remain an elementary.

    Passage or failure of the elementary bond referendum will have no impact on the repurposing of Terrace Elementary into a centralized preschool location. The centralized preschool will open in August 2020, regardless of the outcome of this vote.

     

    MYTH: It isn’t possible to bond for a school without increasing the tax rate.

    It is possible to bond for a school without increasing the tax rate. The bond for elementary 11 will be assigned to the debt service levy. The debt service levy is one part of the total school tax rate, which also includes levies such as the General, PPEL, and Management Funds. Each of the levies independently increases or decreases annually, and when combined, form the overall school tax rate. Conservative projections for these levies, along with the debt service levy, show the bond for elementary 11 will not require an increase in the school district’s portion of the tax rate.

     

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  • Why Ankeny needs an 11th elementary?

    Posted by Ankeny Community School District on 6/15/2017

    Ankeny’s population continues to grow, due in part to the exceptional schools, by a rate of five people per day. Consequently, the district enrollment grows by 400-500 students per year, primarily at the elementary level. In order to keep class sizes at a reasonable size and to effectively educate Ankeny’s student population, the Ankeny Board of Education believes that the best, long-term solution is to begin construction of the 11th elementary as soon as possible. Ankeny Schools’ class sizes are currently capped at 25 for kindergarten and 27 for first through fifth grade according to Board Policy 501.33.

     

    S.A.V.E. (Secure and Advanced Vision for Education) was money given to school districts for the purpose of buying, constructing, and remodeling buildings and facilities necessary for growth and betterment of the districts. However, uneasiness from the legislature in how the funds have been utilized throughout the state has led to uncertainty that the SAVE tax will continue to exist in order to better or schools.

     

    The Board has already chosen to add four classrooms to Prairie Trail and Rock Creek, increasing the capacity of these buildings to 750. This fiscally- responsible decision delaying the need for a bond referendum and helped keep the boundary lines in place for the next six years. The additions to the schools ensured that students who started in 2014-2015 would be able to stay at the same elementary their entire K-5 experience for the first time in more than a decade.

     

    The Board has reduced taxes seven years in a row by a total of $3.83. We are keeping our promises to lower taxes. This bond would be tax neutral, meaning there would be no effect on property tax. District finances have dramatically improved over the past several years and continue to do so. A solid plan was put in place several years ago to more effectively fund the opening of schools. This has allowed the tax rate to significantly decrease, with the intentions of stabilizing at an affordable rate.

     

    Construction of the next elementary will not be the end. As long as Ankeny continues to grow at 400+ students per year, the district will need to begin construction of a new elementary school at least every five years. There is already land purchased in the northwest corner of Ankeny for the next elementary, and the Board is continually looking for additional land for elementary buildings.

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  • Bond Referendum for Elementary 11

    Ankeny’s population continues to grow, due in part to the exceptional schools, by a rate of five people per day. Consequently, the district enrollment grows by 400-500 students per year, primarily at the elementary level. In order to keep class sizes at a reasonable size and to effectively educate Ankeny’s student population, the Ankeny Board of Education believes that the best, long-term solution is to begin construction of the 11th elementary as soon as possible.

    Elementary 11 renderings