Local principal responds to bond issue vote

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By Tim McNicholas


Updated: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 06:19:55 CST

When Longfellow principal Cathy Cafferty first stepped foot in the building...

She wasn't writing up detentions.

She was a student.

A lot's changed since then.

"Kids are much more engaged and active in the learning process now,” she said. “There's so much more going on."

But at least one thing remains the same:

The building.

Longfellow was built in 1927.

It's one of five schools sitting on the fence of major renovation.

A public vote in May will determine it’s fate.

The vote could reduce the number of elementary schools from 6 to 5.

It will be the first bond vote in Hastings since 2006...

When 70 percent voted yes on a new middle school.

Everything Cafferty's heard points to a similar outcome.

"I haven't had anybody tell me they're not in favor of it,” Cafferty said. “I've had people ask questions that maybe don't know everything about it."

But it's a vote that comes on the heels of a similar vote in Minden...

Where the town voted against a 25 million dollar bond.

"I'm sure Minden had the need too. But we're talking about buildings that, like Longfellow, 1927,” Jim Heyen said.

Heyen is a member of the school board that voted unanimously this week to put the bond on the ballot.

He says a lack of air conditioning in the schools is just part of what made the decision easy.

Heyen expects the vote in May will be met with some opposition.

"You're gonna have some that are not in favor of it,” he said. “Maybe some that think you don't need it and that. But we're gonna have opportunities to meet with the public."

Morton elementary could be used for pre–school students.

But, a final decision hasn't been made.