Advance voting has been taking place for the past two weeks, but Tuesday marks the day Ellis USD 388 patrons will have a special election. At stake is a $10 million bond issue that will expand the high school, improve mechanicals at both Washington Grade School and Ellis High, and upgrade athletic facilities both indoors and out.
Aging buildings, temporary spaces that have become permanent, and maintenance issues are plaguing the district -- and need to be addressed in some fashion. Throw in increasing enrollment in grades K-8, and the small district finds itself bursting at the seams.
"We're going to have to address them sooner rather than later," said Mark Polifka, USD 388 school board president.
We would have to agree with Polifka. In fact, we might even take it a step further. If the issues aren't addressed soon, it could become too late.
It appears a number of Ellis residents are well-aware of the district's needs. A good number of them helped identify and prioritize the list, which includes:
* A classroom addition on the high school that will allow junior high students to be moved to that building;
* A multi-purpose room to serve as a storm shelter and wrestling room;
* A gymnasium;
* A stadium complex;
* Updated cafeteria and restrooms at Washington;
* Upgraded science rooms and libraries at both schools; and
* Enough energy efficiency improvements to free up significant dollars already committed in the capital outlay schedule.
When looking at either the $10 million figure or the 18.25 additional mills that would be assessed on property, the number can be daunting. But looking at all of the necessary improvements and expansions that will take place to help Ellis students both academically and athletically, the additional $210 in taxes imposed annually on a home worth $100,000 strikes us as a pretty decent investment.
We would recommend residents within the Ellis 388 School District to vote Tuesday -- and vote "yes." Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry