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2023 Bond Updates

On August 29, USD 294 voters will have the opportunity to vote on improvements to our schools. The bond is very important to Decatur Community Schools and would replace the 96-year-old elementary school and update the 84-year-old junior and high school. The bond issue will not exceed $29.15 million and will address safety, security, accessibility and the overall learning environment for our students.

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Learn About the Bond

You are invited to learn what the proposed $29.15 million bond will mean for the Oberlin Elementary School and Decatur Community Junior/Senior High School.

Attend a Townhall Meeting

  • Monday, August 7 at 7 p.m. at the DCJ/SHS Auditorium 

  • Sunday, August 13 at 1 p.m. at Sunflower Cinema 

    • The It’s Time community group will provide pizza at the theater townhall meeting beginning
      at 12:30 p.m. on August 13. 


Take a Tour

  • Visit either school office any weekday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a private tour

  • Elementary School group tours Thursdays at 5:15 p.m.

  • DCJ/SHS group tours Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m. 

Who decided that USD 294 needed a facilities upgrade?

People who care about Decatur County. A steering committee of property owners, business leaders, educators and parents studied the issues in depth for more than a half a year and made their recommendation to the school board. The committee reviewed a dozen different options, including remodeling both schools, building an all-new facility, remodeling one school and building all new for the other, etc. Options were rejected if they did not meet needs, were too expensive, were impractical, and/or were disruptive to learning.

What did
they find?

  • The population of Decatur County is growing in two key demographics that could increase school enrollment – the under 5 age group and the 20-24 age group.

  • School enrollment has increased every year for the past eight years, despite having small graduating classes. That’s because enrollment in K-6 is at its highest point in more than 20 years and has shown year-over-year increases. Projections for the next 12 years show that enrollment will remain steady – and even slightly increase.

  • Many USD 294 classrooms present barriers for student success, including poor temperature regulation, inadequate lighting and lack of space for group learning. Classrooms are undersized and lack sufficient infrastructure for today’s technology. These factors limit learning opportunities and create distractions for students and staff.

  • The buildings are out of compliance with code. The infrastructure, including the HVAC, electrical and other systems, requires substantial work just to meet current building codes.

  • Both facilities have considerable accessibility issues.

  • The condition of the current school buildings reflects poorly on the community and complicates the effort to attract new teachers, residents and businesses.

What would the $29.15M bond provide?

USD 294 would move to a PK-12 campus model with a new high school wing added to the south side of the existing DCJ/SHS and a woods shop added to the Vo-Ag building. The shop building would connect to the school through a practice gym and locker rooms. The north side of the existing high school would be remodeled to become the new elementary school. Systems throughout the schools would be updated and brought up to code. Where needed, the building would get a heavy remodel affecting layout and all finishes; areas that are in good shape would get a lighter remodel, like new LED lighting and fire sprinklers. The high school and elementary would have separate, secure entrances but take advantage of a shared kitchen, media center and cafeteria/commons.

What will be the impact on my taxes?

A mill levy is the "tax rate" that is applied to the assessed value of a property. Our current mill levy is $44.14 per $1,000 of assessed value. If the bond issue passes, the mill levy will be $72.39.


The median home value in Decatur County is $66,100. That means that half of the homes are valued at less than $66,100 and half are valued more than that amount. For half of our residents, the bond would mean an increase of less than $215 a year, or less than $18 added to a monthly mortgage.

The following tables show the tax implications by property type.

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