Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, November 14 2012 at 4:14 PM, Updated: Wed, November 14 2012 at 4:31 PM
30 million dollars...
That's how much school officials in Klamath County plan to request from voters next May. About 20 million dollars of that would be earmarked for a new elementary school.
Principal Janell Preston notes that Henley Elementary's modular classrooms pose some big challenges...
"We don't have a gym. We don't have a cafeteria. We don't have any kind of a common area. Our library is half of a trailer."
Passage of a 30 million dollar, 20 year bond would fund construction of a new school.
"That would mean 49 cents per thousand." Explains Klamath County Schools Superintendent Greg Thede. "Or 49 dollars a year on a 100 thousand dollar assessed value home."
The old elementary school was closed in 2006 after mold started causing health problems...and the school was replaced with 14 modular classrooms.
Principal Preston points out that enrollment at Henley Elementary grew to about 400 students this year...
"We're doing the best with what we have, but I don't think it's an ideal situation."
While money is tight, Superintendent Thede says it's the right time to go out for a bond measure...
"The economic times are tough. However, it also is a good time to do projects of this nature, because the bids come in lower."
Thede also believes the project would provide some needed construction jobs.
The district will be offering a bus tour of some of the impacted schools. Those that want to take part in that free bus tour can show up at the Klamath County Schools maintenance office at the end of Summers Lane Thursday morning at 9.
The remaining 10 million of the bond measure would be used at other schools for building improvements such as roof repairs, energy saving projects, and upgrades of fire alarm systems.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.