The EVSC strategic agenda is ready to be implemented, with application for $149 million in bonds the next major step towards realizing major changes to the school district. Monday night, the EVSC board of school trustees voted unanimously to approve Superintendent Dr. Vince Bertrams far reaching plan to reorganize the way the district operates. The agenda has several goals. First, it calls for professional development, which includes finding new ways to use technology, innovations in teaching and new methods of purchasing (which includes just-in-time inventory for the paper purchasing contract, expected to save the district on warehousing supplies). Early childhood education is a major focus, and three early childhood education centers will be established under the plan. They will focus on getting the districts most economically disadvantaged students in the classroom at a younger age. The agenda calls for a $10 million investment in technology, especially computers. Family, school and Community partnerships are also a tenant of the plan, designed to better engage parents in their childrens education. Perhaps the most dramatic of the agendas goals is the creation of innovative school models. Its drawing attention in large part because of its $171 million price tag. Bertram wants to address overcrowding in some districts, underutilization in others, aging buildings and population growth in the north eastern corner of Vanderburgh County. The plan calls for construction of a new North High School/Middle School complex to open in 2011, replacement of portable classrooms with permanent class space at Stockewell and Highland Elementary and Plaza Park Middle School, renovations at old North High, Evans Elementary, and Oak Hill, and new construction at Cedar hall, Glenwood, Lodge and Lincoln. In the initial agenda, Cedar Hall was to be closed, but parents lobbied for it, and Bertram agreed that it serves the community well, but will need major construction which may include purchase land to build on. All of these projects come with an estimated price tag of $171 million, including interest, if paid for with a bond issue. Bertram thinks, using existing revenue streams and money that will return to the budget once current bonds are paid off, the amount borrowed could be cut to around $149 million. He told the school board that those numbers were high end estimates. Bertram believes that the work can also be done without any effect on property taxes. "We will fund the bond within our current financial structure," Bertram said in prepared remarks Monday. "We wanted to be able to work within our current financial structure and the plan we have proposed odes that. Typically what most school corporations would do is to sell a bond and raise taxes to pay for it. Were not doing that," he said. According to information prepared the the EVSC, the corporation has an Energy Savings Contract, Pension Bonds, and payments on the Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center that will be paid off over the next 23 years. "As things pay of we will be able to use those funds to keep our tax rate level," Bertram said. A bond hearing has been scheduled for April 7. The timing of the hearing will prevent the bond issue from requiring a referendum under Indiana Law. The Indiana General Assembly passed property tax reform measures last Friday which will require any publicly funded project costing over $20 million to be put to a public vote. That law wont be in place by April.