On 12/9/2019, the Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education voted to move forward with conducting community conversations regarding a potential bond initiative for the November 2020 ballot. During this phase, board members would like school officials to gather input from community stakeholders regarding the items suggested for a potential bond.
Enrollment at Norfolk Public Schools has grown steadily in the past ten years. During the 2008-2009 school year enrollment was 3875 students. In 2018-2019 that number jumped to 4256, an increase of 381 students. Enrollment projections indicate that Norfolk Public Schools’ enrollment will continue to increase over the course of the next five years, with a projected enrollment of 4499 in 2023-2024, an increase of 243 students. Numerous facility projects need to be completed across the district in order to address our growing student enrollment and existing safety concerns.
Most taxpayers agree that increased enrollment in their public school is a good sign of a strong economy and growth in their city, but understandably no one is eager to pay more taxes. Norfolk Public Schools knows this and respects local taxpayers. Due to Norfolk Public School’s continued conservative approach to spending and an aggressive approach to debt repayment, the school district could refinance any current general bonds while funding these additional projects, and still reduce the taxpayers overall levy by at least one penny. This means that if a school bond in this proposed amount was approved by voters on the November 2020 ballot, taxpayers would not see an increase in their tax levy compared to previous years.
Superintendent Dr. Jami Jo Thompson told us, "Norfolk Public Schools is growing and our school board is gathering input from school staff and community stakeholders regarding the potential bond. They take very seriously their role in fulfilling the mission of NPS to prepare all students to meet their goals for the future. The community conversations that will be held in early 2020 are a great place to start this district facility work, and I hope everyone in our school and community will plan to attend and provide valuable input."
The current November 2020 ballot potential bond total is $24,873,361. Preliminary information shared with the school board includes an addition to Bel Air Elementary School, Lincoln Montessori Elementary School, Norfolk Middle School, Norfolk Junior High School, and Norfolk Senior High School. Community Conversations will be scheduled in early 2020. More information will be made available on the school website, and district social media accounts, as the dates and times are confirmed.