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As Bennington schools add hundreds of students every year, school district eyes a second high school

Posted at 10:12 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 23:12:13-04

BENNINGTON, Neb. (KMTV) — Less than 20 years ago Bennington High School opened and, due to massive growth, it’s been renovated four times. Now, school leaders are seeking a second new high school.

That's because, just with current numbers, they’ll be over the school’s 1,150 student capacity by 2026.

“So without any growth at all, we’re going to exceed the capacity in about four years,” said Superintendent Terry Haack.

Bennington Public Schools is set to have a series of public meetings, all later in July, asking residents what they want and how much they’re willing to spend on a new bond issue.

“What we’re looking for is what they’re comfortable with in terms of increases to a levy and they see as needs,” said Haack.

They’ve already been adding capacity. They’re set to open a second middle school and fifth elementary school this fall, but that still won’t be enough.

That’s because people keep moving to the new district so the district’s enrollment goes up around 10% every year.

“So for our district, that’s anywhere from nine to 11% growth every year,” said Haack.

Haack is also seeking to upgrade the football stadium, with two Bennington schools likely to play there in the future. Plus, another elementary school, more student space and money for more land and for projects including a third high school down the road.

“We can’t control the growth but we can accommodate the growth,” said Haack.

Haack also tells 3 News Now projections show that by 2046, Bennington would be around 12,000-14,000 students, similar or greater in numbers to districts like Papillion La Vista and Elkhorn.

The prices for two potential bonds that range from $125-150 million would cost an owner of a $300,000 home, anywhere from $210 to $300 additional dollars every year in property taxes.

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