Union Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said the district spent 2017 taking steps toward a better future.

The work on the district’s facilities plan was a major part of what made the year so successful, he said, adding that the community input and work by HTK Architects will set the district up to be successful long-term.

“I think it’s been great having some input on the facilities forums. We’ve started getting positive feedback and we’re really finding out what the community needs,” Weinhold said.

The school district spent the majority of the first semester developing a plan to address the overcrowding at district elementary schools.

Facility meetings, forums and discussions led to the hiring of HTK Architects, who are currently polishing designs for upgrades throughout the school district.

The community feedback was a big part of developing the plan and figuring out what Union students need, Weinhold said, adding that looking back, he was happy so many teachers, administrators, parents and community members actively participated in the process.

In April, Weinhold said he hopes voters will approve a $20 million no-tax increase bond issue to fund building a new elementary school and improvements in the rest of the district’s buildings.

In order to get the bond issue on the ballot, ballot language and a specific summary of what the funds would be used for must be created and approved by the board of education. The language is due to county election officials by Jan. 23.

To pass, the district needs a four-sevenths majority vote.

A $23 million 2019 bond has also been discussed as a backup plan.

“We’re going to solve some facilities issues with this no-tax increase bond issue. If we can get it passed we can set Union up for not just the next few years but the next 10, 20 or 30 years,” Weinhold said. “I think it’s going to be a great year.”

While there are some challenges ahead, Weinhold said he believes that 2018 will be a landmark year for the district. He noted that the budget is always fluctuating and cited the possibility of transportation funds being cut as a possible road bump.