Buchanan schools push for $31 million bond

By: Brandon Lewis Email
By: Brandon Lewis Email

Superintendent Andrea van der Laan is pushing voters to approve a $31 million bond because the district's schools are in need of repair and a technology upgrade.

"We have instances at the elementary school where students try to get on a computer, sometimes it takes them so long to long on that by the time the class is done they are just getting on the computer," said van der Laan.

Ottawa Elementary's computer lab is crunched into a small, modified room, which often can't handle today's Internet speed.

The plans go beyond just upgrading computers and wiring, many buildings are in need of repairs.

Buchanan Middle School was designed with open classrooms, which are now separated by partitions. Often noise from one room spills into another, which can easily distract students.

van der Laan plans to add walls and wiring to the classrooms to support computers. Currently teachers string extension cords through the rooms or from the ceiling.

"We do have laptops for the kids, but in order for them to use them we've had to put extension cords in the middle of the room. We're in danger of kids tripping over cords, knocking over equipment," said van der Laan.

Critics of the bond argue they can't afford the bond during the recession, but the school said the repairs have been put off for too long.

"I would agree that the economy is tough. The community has worked on this for three years and its gotten to the point they can't wait any longer. They did ask the board to bring this forth last year and they waited and every day we're patching and repairing," said van der Laan.

If the bond passes on Tuesday, architecture work would begin almost immediately. Construction would begin in the fall.

Click the link below to read about the plans.

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