Growing Community Needs More Schools

It's one of the fastest growing areas in the state and starting to feel some growing pains.

A school bond issue in Papillion and LaVista is in the early stages.

It's designed to better accommodate growth patterns of a younger population of students.

Angie Henderson is clearing out a few items at a garage sale.

She has three young children attending Parkview Heights Elementary in LaVista.

She's heard about the preliminary plans for a school bond issue.

"I'm actually in support of the bond issue just the different opportunities that we'll have for our school and some improvements because we do have an older school building and space issues," she said.

Those space issues are apparent at Portal Elementary.

Portable classrooms have become permanent structures.

A group of five kids had to practice their part in a play inside an entryway of the school.

Portal is a relatively new school, but was only built to accommodate 450 kids.

And now?

"Portal currently sits at 540 and has a lot of growth areas that are feeding, so we have three classrooms in portables at portal," Annette Eyeman of the Papillion-LaVista School District said.

So a $65 million bond issue is in the early works.

If approved, it would fund building a new Junior High School and an elementary school.

The district projects in seven years, elementary school enrollment will increase by about 400 kids, while Junior High levels would increase by 200.

There's also funds for upkeep on existing schools and enhanced technology.

"I know some of those older schools are challenged with technology issues and need to be upgraded as well," Angie said.

If the bond issue goes forward without changes, that would add about $4.60 per $100,000 valuation.

Angie Henderson says that's a small price to pay considering what's at stake.

"I'm okay with paying a few more dollars to help our schools and provide opportunities for our kids," she said.

Right now, nothing is finalized in the bond issue.

The school district wants input and is holding two public forums.

The first is tonight at Papillion Junior High. It starts at 6:30.

A second chance for public discussion will be held at LaVista Junior High next Tuesday.

Again the start time is 6:30.

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