PLAN B: Johnston Board Trims Referendum Proposal

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The Johnston School District is quickly outgrowing their current buildings and running out of options for raising money to expand.

In September, a referendum that would have helped pay for a new high school, failed by less than 200 votes, now, officials say they’ve listened to residents and come up with a new plan that addresses the district’s needs, with a smaller price tag.

"The biggest needs are the overcrowding issues in our elementary schools, that's going to eventually get to our high school and our middle school--in fact, our middle school is already overcrowded..." School board member Greg Dockum told Channel 13.

The new plan builds a new, $81 million high school, renovates the old high school to make it the new middle school.  Then moves Wallace Elementary to the old Middle School and renovates the Wallace building to hold more elementary school children.  The district says while the plan addresses overcrowding, it also upgrades electronic technology in all schools, helping Johnston keep up with modern times.

"Technology is changing daily, hourly and what we're preparing our kids for is a world where we don't even know exactly what it's going to look like, so it's important that we provide them a lot of flexible spaces, so that they can grow and become good contributing citizens," said school board member Marci Cordaro.

In all, the new plan runs about $112 million dollars, which is about $10 million less than the first plan.

In January, the school board will set a date for citizens to vote on this new, pared down referendum, it is expected to be in late spring or early summer.