Community shares concerns over proposed link to Bennington School

BENNINGTON, Neb (KMTV) – Public schools in Bennington are growing rapidly and the district will soon run out of room for its students.

Projections show that by 2024 Bennington High School will be over capacity and the district is proposing a new school to accommodate all of its new students.

The council has proposed a $149 million bond to build the new schools as well as sports facilities, but not everyone in the community is as excited about the potential of a new school.

“With time running out to pass this bond issue, shouldn’t we just get this building built and then worry about what we put in it later? The answer is clearly no,” said Christa Monti, a witness at the of Monday’s meeting.

At a board meeting on Monday, the Bennington Public School Board heard concerns from some community members about their proposed bond.

Some felt that the process was moving too quickly without sufficient public participation.

But the biggest concern among the group present was whether or not sports facilities were prioritized over academic opportunities.

“In an age of inflation and signs of recession, can we as taxpayers afford to buy classroom essentials? Should the community be responsible for a pool of over $9 million? $3 million in tennis courts? $5 million for stadium seating investment,” another witness said.

Vocational and technical education was the top priority for many witnesses.

In the original proposal, the board had CTE classrooms low on its list of things to include in the school, but after hearing the crowd’s concerns, things quickly changed.

“I’m glad to see the board realize the importance of this, but I think we also want to make sure this is something that we move forward quickly. However, you also have to be careful about what is integrated into this program,” said Christa Monti.

One question that still remains unanswered about school is where she might go.

The council backed out of an earlier agreement to buy land for the school, but officials say they are close to finding a location for the new school.

“Board and management are in negotiations for a new property which we hope to announce shortly,” said BPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Haack.

The board will consider public comments and hope to have a finalized proposal by next Monday. The deadline for including the proposed bond in the next election is September 1.

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