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Pekin Bond Issue To Tackle Much Needed Renovation Projects

By Ellis Codjoe, January 12, 2017

The Pekin Community School District in nearby Jefferson County has received quite a bit of media attention this week thanks to the kind hearts of Principal Tim Hadley and sixth grader Jackson Johnston.

There’s another story out of Pekin High School, one you probably haven’t heard yet, but one that Principal Hadley is just as passionate about.

Principal Hadley says that the Pekin school building is in need of some major renovations. The district has scheduled a bond issue referendum asking voters to allow $5.5M in bonds to remodel the elementary and high school buildings.

“We’re looking at a bond issue. We’ll vote on that on February 7th,” Hadley said. “You can still request an absentee ballot to get in there and vote early.”

Absentee ballots are available from the Keokuk County Auditor’s Office.

Hadley shared a long list of projects the district wants to tackle.

“We want to expand our science capabilities, build a brand new science classroom and update the science lab. We need to update the Family and Consumer Sciences classroom,” Hadley said. “There will be brand new, ADA compliant restrooms.”

Currently the restrooms in the school do not meet the requirements for the Americans with Disabilities act. The full list of projects is available at by clicking on the bond link.

Hadley says that many of the proposed upgrades, including the restrooms and boiler systems haven’t been upgraded since the buildings were constructed in the 1960’s and 70s.

With the upcoming bond issue vote drawing near, Pekin has scheduled another community meeting highlighting the improvements and additions that the bond will bring to the district.  This meeting will start at 6:00 PM on January 24, 2017 at Elsie’s Barn located at 1769 110th Street, Richland, IA.  The meeting will be a time for farmers, land owners, and community members to ask questions and learn the effects of the bond issue.

Should the bond issue pass, land owners in the Pekin School District would see an increase of around $1.55 in taxes per $1,000 in property valuation. For a $50,000 property that equals about $35 per year. That’s about 1/3 what most homes pay for a year of a single streaming movie service.

A $100,000 property would see their tax bill increase by $78.70, still less than a years’ worth of Netflix.

Farmers would see an annual increase of around $1.32 per acre of agriculture land. (dependent on property value)

Commercial property could see the largest increase. A $100,000 commercial property in the Pekin CSD would see an annual increase of around $140.

A full break down of the tax impacts (as prepared by the Pekin School District) is available at by clicking on the bond link.

(Look below the pictures for a more comprehensive [still not full] list of projects to be tackled under this bond issue. List courtesy Pekin CSD.)

Upgrade Lagoon/ Lift Station
– There have been no major upgrades to this system since it was constructed in the 1960’s.

Sewer Lines/ADA Rest Rooms – We have clay tile that connect our sewer system to the lagoon. We are in need of replacing the tile that has deteriorated over the last 50+ years to ensure we have proper drainage.

Restrooms – We currently only have one bathroom that meets the American’s with Disabilities Act.  This is located in the Media Center Hallway.  We are in need of  remodeling restrooms in the Elementary and High School to provide better facilities to our students and community members.

High School Science Room – We have never upgraded this room to meet the needs of our students.  We are lacking proper drainage at our stations and we do not have an operational fume hood to allow the students to do more in-depth experiments.

Family and Consumer Science – This room also has not had an upgrade in recent years.  We would like to expand the opportunities to our students by replacing outdated equipment.

High School Boiler – We want to replace the original boiler in the High School with a more efficient boiler that will cut our energy costs.  These energy savings would reduce the burden on the General Fund.

Fine Arts – We want to construct more storage space for our Drama program and to improve the lights and sound system for the stage.  This would include replacing the tile, light bar, speakers, curtains and a fresh coat of paint. These upgrades would support our concerts and productions performed at the high school.

Locker Rooms – We are in need of improving the ventilation and showers in the high school locker rooms. We would like to install showers and lockers that are more inline with our needs of today.  We would expand the high school locker rooms into the current wrestling room and the wrestling room would be moved to the where we had shop class. We will also install new showers, new fixtures and fresh coat of paint in the Middle School Locker Rooms

Lighting – By replacing our current lights with LED lights that will reduce our energy bill, which impacts our General Fund.  This would include classrooms and hallways throughout the buildings.

Vestibules – To improve our entrances to the elementary and high school buildings and provide a safe well lighted area for students to wait on parents.  We will also be upgrading our security system into each of the buildings.

Improve Ventilation in HS Gym – Installation of a HVAC system into the gym to make it more comfortable for our community members and athletes.

JR High – Construction of 6 classrooms at the HS would allow the 7th, 8th and HS Art to be located in the HS building.  This would reduce the congestion in the current middle school wing and provide additional space for Elementary Special Education, Title I, Elementary Art and the School Nurse.

*In addition to being Principal of Pekin Middle and High School, Mr. Hadley is a regular football announcer and fill in basketball announcer for the Ottumwa Radio Sports Network. 

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