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.