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Culver seeks school levy for expansion

by: Photo By Susan Matheny - Culver teacher Daryl Ivie and students in one of the crowded third grade rooms.


   Culver School district voters are being asked to pass a bond levy for $20 million, following a year of explosive student growth.
   School enrollment had been increasing at a steady rate of 3 percent, but shot up nearly 12 percent this year, from 605 students in 2005 to 674 this fall.
   Most of the growth stems from new homes being built in Culver. In 2005, 48 home building permits were issued, and in 2006 another 44 new homes were approved. In addition, preliminary approval has been given to a 70-home subdivision, and a 45-acre area is now in hearings to come into Culver's urban growth boundary. If accepted into the city, it could potentially have 200 homes.
   The $20 million bond projects would include:
   . Construction of a new elementary school for 350 students on land purchased off the current school campus.
   . Construction of up to eight new classrooms at Culver High School, plus an upgrade of heat, air, electrical and disabled facilities.
   . Up to four new classrooms at Culver Middle School.
   . Renovation of the old classroom wings at Culver Elementary and support services.
   Classroom sizes have gotten more crowded, particularly at the third grade level where there are 29 students per room. Fourth and fifth grade classrooms have 26 students, while first grade rooms have 25 students.
   Last year, after research, a facilities planning committee recommended to the Culver school board that the district needed a new school.
   "Originally they wanted a new high school," Florence said, explaining that high school estimates were too costly at $31 million for a 300-student school, or $37 million for a 600-student school.
   Since the highest rate of growth is at the grade school level, it was decided to build a new elementary school instead, she said.
   Local citizens formed the "Kids Are Our Future -- Vote Yes" committee, cochaired by Barbara Frazier and Mark Hagman, and the group has held several fund-raisers to pay for advertising to help pass a bond levy.
   Several community information nights have also been slated. The next one will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Culver City Hall.
   Ballots on the school bond levy will be mailed out Oct. 7, and must be returned by election day on Nov. 7.
   (Next week: With payments still being made on the 1995 bond, how much will a new school cost Culver taxpayers?)