Q&A for school bond | VailDaily.com

Q&A for school bond

Special to the Daily

Why can’t the school district pay for needed repairs, upgrades and new schools out of its existing budget?The state of Colorado does not provide monies for the construction of new schools and only provides $271 annually per pupil for maintaining and renovating older facilities. Colorado school districts must therefore borrow money for large capital projects, like building new schools, major repairs and upgrades. Issuing tax-exempt general obligation bonds is the most cost-effective method of borrowing for Colorado school districts; this is especially true with long-term interest rates at historically low levels. Colorado currently ranks 47th out of 50 states when it comes to K-12 education funding as a share of state income. The Board of Education is placing a bond question – Ballot Issue 3B – on the November 2006 ballot. What will the funds be used for?Passage of Ballot Issue 3B will fund the following projects:n Repair and upgrade of existing school facilities districtwide to extend their useful life, including Eagle Valley High School.n Build a new elementary school on Miller Ranch in Edwards to alleviate overcrowding. n Build a new high school on Miller Ranch in Edwards to replace Battle Mountain High School to alleviate overcrowding and provide students with a facility that meets district standards. n Upgrade instructional technology district-wide.n Buy land in the Eagle area for a future school project. The improvements will ensure that every child in our district is provided a quality learning environment, and that every child is provided access to facilities that are competitive with neighboring school districts.What is the tax impact of the bond issues on district homeowners?A homeowner’s tax bill will increase an estimated $2.57 per month per $100,000 of a home’s market value. For example, the owner of a $400,000 home would pay an additional $10.28 per month. What is the urgency of these projects?Construction project costs have begun to increase with higher material costs and more demand. The cost of building a new high school in the mountain market has nearly doubled over the last four years, and shows no signs of letting up. Waiting will simply cost us more money in the end. The district can also take advantage of historically low long-term interest rates.How do I know that the district will spend the money on what they say they it will be spent on? The Taxpayers Bill of Rights requires that projects built with bond money are limited to what the ballot question says. Bond construction update reports will be published and distributed to all district taxpayers.How do our taxes compare to other school districts?Taxpayers of the Eagle County School District pay a much lower mill levy than the state average of 37.974 mills. In 2005-2006, our school district’s total mill levy was 19.595 mills. This places the district levy in the lowest 15 percent of school districts statewide, below the Summit County School District’s levy of 22.910 and far below Roaring Fork School District’s levy of 37.265.This Q&A was put together by proponents of the Eagle County School District’s $128 million bond request on the Nov. 7 ballot.Vail, Colorado

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