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L-B board hires consultant to help with bond issue try

By MAX FILBY
STAFF WRITER
Liberty-Benton voters turned down a tax package for a new K-8 school building last November, but the district is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2014.
The Liberty-Benton school board agreed Monday to hire a consultant who will help the district reach out to the community on the issue.
“The last time we put a levy on, the voters didn’t pass it,” Kanable said. “This time we want to establish what it is they want.”
Kanable said another bond issue won’t appear on the May ballot, but could be put before voters in a later election.
The contract is with William O’Callaghan, a consultant from Green Valley, Ariz., who Kanable said has worked with other area school districts, including Carey. Liberty-Benton will pay O’Callaghan $750 per month, according to the agreement.
“He takes a different approach that’s unique to education so I’m excited to see what he can do,” Kanable said.
In a letter to the school district, O’Callaghan said he would meet with members of the community himself while also helping the district to establish a framework on how to reach out to the community.
“He’s going to see what the process needs to be and find out how to get the community involved in it,” Kanable said.
In November, 53 percent of voters turned down a 6.5-mill tax package that would have funded the construction of the new building.
The 35-year bond issue would have generated about $19.7 million and would have covered the district’s share of the new building’s $31.9 million price tag.
Kanable declined to comment on whether the district would try to get approval for a similar package or if it would go in another direction.
“We’re back at the drawing board,” Kanable said. “We just have to see what the voting public will allow and what they’re comfortable with.”
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