If you ask Kyle Estes, Hancock County School Superintendent, about the future of two buildings situated along U.S. 60 in Western Kentucky, he might say they’re preparing to fade away.
Hancock County is looking to be ahead of the curve with a new school; the proposed groundbreaking is more than a decade away. But neighbors could soon start to fund it.
“We’re saying we need to start preparing and that time to start preparing is now,” Estes says.
Dozens gathered at Hancock County High School, in a gym that may not exist in 10 years, to hear about a proposed nickel tax to pay for a new school.
“We don’t even have adequate funds to be able to address what we’ve got,” Estes told the crowd, “we need the nickel whether we’re building a new school or not.”
The county is looking for more than $20 million to raise up a new middle or high school, in the land right next door to their current sites.
School officials say if a tax hike is passed, the county could have the bonding potential to make the new school happen within a decade.
Estes says it would cost the average homeowner less than $50 per year, relating the cost to a “coke and a candy bar” per month.
But some, like Darrell Moffit, aren’t pleased with the hit it would put on their wallet.
“This isn’t a candy bar and a coke every month for me,” he says, “if it is, it’s an expensive candy bar and a coke.”
Richard Wayte questions the “fundamental approach” of building a new school. “I don’t think children learn better from newer bricks.”
Hancock County Middle School was built in the 1960s, and the High School in the 1970s.
Estes says the buildings may be adequate now but in a decade they may not be.
Jake Roberts spoke in favor of the tax, looking ahead to his possible grandchildren in school in Hancock County.
“I can’t think of anything more important than having the facilities to get the training they need for the jobs of the future.”
The school board will likely vote on the tax on April 21.