Shirley Schroeder presented a petition with 151 names to the Remsen-Union School Board last night seeking a bond issue for new school facilities. Similar bond issues have failed three times.
The school board accepted the petition and voted unanimously to put the issue to ballot in December.
The question calls for general obligation bonds not to exceed $5,500,000, down from the $7.6 million of the last bond issue.
The Dec. 3 special election will be "to provide funds to build and furnish a new elementary school building as an addition to the high school, to build and furnish additions to and remodel, repair and improve the middle school and high school buildings, and to improve the site."
Said Schroeder in making the petition presentation, "I think tonight, on behalf of the P.A.C.E. Committee, I'd say we'd like to present this petition to the board with a real sense of urgency.
"We are extremely concerned with what we saw in the enrollment figures for the Remsen-Union School District. And we think the fact that we have been unable to update our facilities is playing a big part in that enrollment drop.
"We believe that parents of this community are looking at our school district and saying, 'We don't want the future for our kids to be trailer houses and nursing homes and church basements. If Remsen is not providing educational classrooms ... we're going to look at other school districts for our children and we're going to look at open enrollment for our children.'
"We think that played a part in the dropping our enrollment. So, we're going to work extremely, extremely hard to get this passed. We feel there are so many good things going on academically at Remsen-Union, from accelerated readers to building houses to you-name-it. We're not seeing the academic part because people look at our schools and see trailers and they're immediately turned off.
"We feel an excellent environment for our kids to learn in is absolutely essential.
"We think we can help improve that enrollment by building a system that is classroom oriented and says, 'Come to Remsen. Come to school here. Live here. We want you. We welcome you. We want your kids.
"We are going to make this happen in December and we are going to reach our goal this time because it is so important. We are going to make it this time."
Remsen-Union lost 55.8 students by state certified count this school year, the most in the county. Twelve of those students were first-time open enrolling to another school district.
Superintendent Gary Battles said 20 families had moved from the school district since January, as well. Finally, a large graduating class and a much smaller kindergarten class was also a factor in the lower enrollment.
In the last bond issue, more than half of the school district voters favored a $7.6 million bond issue to build and furnish new elementary and middle school buildings, but it wasn't enough to meet the state criteria of 60 percent plus one.