Amy Cunningham
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Several dozen people gathered Monday evening at the Hilltop Education Center to learn about the USD 230 proposed bond issue.
District staff, school board members and consultants for the district were on hand to answer questions from the public at the informal meeting.  Patrons and parents milled about the room hoping to satisfy their curiosity about the project.  The district had various stations set up – including finance, technology and maintenance, elementary and middle school stations.  People could move at their leisure to find an area of interest.
“I was just seeing about the elementary school, my daughter goes to Spring Hill Elementary in town,” explained Lacy Meridith, mother of two.  She attended the meeting to gather more information, but thought she would be in support of the measure.  “I want to clarify what they want to do.”
Christine Splichal, USD 230 communications director said that the session was an opportunity for district officials to meet with the public and discuss details about the project before ballots go out in the mail.
“We’re getting very close,” she said.  “Ballots will be mailed May 18, we’re hopeful voters will be getting educated on the bond.”
School board member Bill Meek was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the public and clear up any misconceptions that have been construed regarding the district’s need for a school bond. He said there is a vocal element in Spring Hill that is not supportive of public education at all and they have spread a campaign of falsities throughout the district.
Meek said, despite rumors to the contrary, that the bond issue will not result in a mill levy increase.  He said that the district has been conservative in their calculations regarding future residential and industrial developments that should come online to help pay for the project.
Meek also explained that the district is continuing to add students all the time and it is the responsibility of the community to educate them in the best way possible.
“We’re a growing district. Drive around the district – we’re growing up north and down by the high school they’re putting foundations in.  If we don’t build new schools what will happen to education,” Meek wondered.  “I would rather pay a little bit of taxes now so that we can educate these kids to work in a global society.  We have to teach our students to be independent thinkers.  They have to learn how to learn.”