School board forges ahead on facilities plan; voters will be asked to help pay for it

By Per Peterson

The District No. 2904 School Board on Monday gave its blessing to a comprehensive and arguably overdue mechanical infrastructure overhaul for both schools that carries with it an $18 million price tag.

A process more than a year in the making, reached a major milestone Monday when the board unanimously passed resolutions to issue General Obligation Facilities Maintenance Bonds not to exceed $18,550,000 and to the issuance of the school building bonds to finance the health and safety project at district facilities and the revocation of a capital project levy authorization and calling for an election.

The issuance of the facilities maintenance bonds will result in an increase of property taxes starting with taxes payable in 2023, and the tax levies will remain in place for 20 years. On a $125,000 residential property, the tax impact for the board approved projects is estimated at $81 annually.

Since not all the district’s infrastructure needs will be addressed with the facilitates maintenance bond issuance, the board authorized moving forward with a voter approved School Building Bond referendum on Aug. 9, 2022. If it passes, the district would be authorized to issue an additional $7,565,000 in school building bonds to finance additional infrastructure needs not addressed by the issuance of the board approved facilities maintenance bonds.

The passage of the bond referendum would result in a property tax increase beginning with taxes payable in 2023; the debt service tax levies would remain in place for 20 years. On a $125,000 residential property, the tax impact for the voter-approved projects is estimated at $33 annually.

Other funding for the project — which includes air handlers, duct work and heating and cooling systems — would come from Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) bonds through the Long Term Facilities Maintenance program, as well through Ag2School, a credit that was signed into law in 2017 to provide a credit on the property taxes levied on agricultural property for existing or future school district building debt.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.