Pella Chronicle

March 22, 2013

Pella: Top notch schools? Check. Top notch facilities? Not so much.

David & Jennifer Van Gorp
Special to The Chronicle

Pella — On Tuesday, April 2, voters in the Pella Community School District will have the opportunity to enhance the educational experience of Pella Community, Pella Christian, and home-schooled students by approving a 20-year, 29.1 million dollar bond referendum.  The proposed long-range facility plan is the result of an 18-month analysis by a group that included Pella Community board members, administration, staff, and the public. As member of the original team of Pella residents who toured the public school facilities, we are encouraged by the additions and improvements that have been proposed. As the parents of three school aged kids, we are thrilled with the opportunities that they will provide. We hope you will join us in voting “yes” on Tuesday, April 2.

Components of this long-range facility plan include significant renovations and expansion to the high school including an arts addition, athletic renovation and/or addition, administrative addition, and renovation of the commons area plus the construction of a career academy building in partnership with DMACC which will be used by Pella and Pella Christian and home-schooled students to receive dual credit in nine career areas as well as additional safety and security enhancements to the high school, middle school and Jefferson. Additionally, a new PK-3 facility will be built to replace the current Lincoln Elementary, and will be built on the existing Lincoln site.

Will this project increase property taxes? Yes…slightly. It is a fact that most Pella residents will see a property tax increase of less than $50 per year. That’s one fewer time that our family will eat out, or one fewer family movie night at the theater.  Clearly, this is a small price to pay for dramatic improvements to the safety and education of our children. A full overview of the project including the tax implications is available on the school Web site at

Pella is a community rich in heritage and proud of the opportunities that it affords its families, students, and children. We are blessed to live in a place with beautiful architecture, immaculate streets, colorful parks, thriving businesses, and quality people. Our schools are top notch in many ways. They boast distinction in terms of academics, athletics, extra and co-curricular activities. The leadership is superb and the teachers, administrators and staff are exceptional. Unfortunately, our current school facilities do not reflect this same dedication to excellence.

Please consider investing in the future of our children, businesses and community by voting “yes” on Tuesday, April 2. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. All Pella wards will vote at the Memorial Building located next to City Hall on the west side of the square. Citizens who typically vote in Leighton and Otley may go to their normal voting location.

Additionally, voters may obtain an absentee ballot by visiting the Marion County Auditor’s Office or their website at