April 2010 Bond Issue "Question and Answer"
Q: How much will this bond cost a taxpayer if it is passed?
A: This bond would require a 15 cent increase to the debt service levy. A taxpayer with a $200,000 home and $20,000 in personal property would pay about $67 more in property taxes annually as a result of this bond. Ten cents would be used to pay for the 8 million dollar bond and 5 cents to pay on current debt service, which is necessary due to overall decreases in property values in the district.
Q: Why can’t this bond be a “no tax increase” as bonds have been in the past?
A: In past years, the district was able to pay for new bonds without raising the debt service levy since additional funds were generated by new construction and increases in property values. Historically, the assessed valuation in our district increased nine to eleven percent in a reassessment year. Due to the slowed economy, overall assessed valuation in the district dropped a total of two percent last year; therefore decreasing the funds received by the school district.
Q: Why is this construction needed for the 2011-2012 school year and not this year?
A: Liberty North High School will add seniors in August 2011 which will make it a three-grade high school. The increases to the student population will require additional space as the course offerings and activities increase in number and size.
Q: Where will Liberty North students compete until their main gym is constructed?
A: Liberty North High School has an auxiliary gym with a seating capacity of 500. This will be minimally adequate for the first year of the school, but not adequate for future years when the senior class is added to the school in 2011.
Q: Why are we not following the Blue Ribbon Committee’s recommendation to put a 25 million dollar bond on the ballot to finish Liberty North High School and add classroom space at the elementary and middle school levels?
A: This is not possible since property values dropped. By state law, we are only able to borrow 15 percent of our
assessed value. Because of the many construction projects since 2000 (eight new schools and seven additions), we are near our bonding capacity limit. We are challenged by this rule more than most other districts in the state since the majority of our growth is residential, which brings many students without significantly increasing assessed valuation.
Q: I remember hearing something about bond funds being spent inappropriately. Is this true?
A: All previous bond funds have been used on needed construction to accommodate for a growing student population. It is true that several previous bond projects had cost overruns that were funded by later bond issues. The district has implemented a system of checks and balances to ensure transparent and accurate accounting of every construction dollar spent. The budget for bond projects is now posted on the district’s website and is updated monthly. It is important for all to know that all previous bond proceeds were spent on approved and necessary construction to accommodate district growth.
Q: Why are we not using the 8 million dollars to add classrooms to relieve overcrowding at the elementary and middle levels?
A: In 2007, the construction of Elementary No. 10 (Kellybrook) was added to the 2008 bond issue to relieve crowding at several elementary schools. Originally, the plan was to finish the auditorium and field house on Phase I and use the funds from the 2010 bond to build Kellybrook. Elementary crowding caused the order of these projects to be reversed. The district continues to have many competing needs due to rapid growth. The next construction bond will be used to relieve continued crowding issues at the elementary and middle levels. The priority this year must be to make Liberty North High School a fully functioning high school with the ability to meet the significant need of additional performing and gym space for the high schools, the district, and the community.
Q: Why does Liberty North High School need an auditorium?
A: The auditorium at Liberty North High School will provide an evaluative environment for music classes and performance space for our rigorous theatre curriculum. In addition to serving the students at Liberty North, the auditorium will also serve as a performance and meeting space for other schools in our district, as well as district-wide meetings, and community events.
Q: What will the seating capacity be for the auditorium and field house at Liberty North?
A: The auditorium will have a seating capacity of approximately 900, which is slightly larger than the Community Center auditorium. The field house will have a capacity of around 2,000.