- What is a bond issue?
- What is the difference between a bond issue and an MLO?
- How much will this bond issue cost a residential property owner annually?
- How much will this bond issue cost a commercial property owner annually?
- Why does a Bond Issue need to be funded through a property tax increase? Why can’t District 6 levy a sales tax?
- Why can’t money from the 2017 Mill Levy Override be used to fund new buildings, renovations and repairs?
- Why are so many repairs and renovations needed on existing schools? Has District 6 failed to keep up with maintenance?
- When was the last time District 6 asked voters to approve a Bond Issue?
- Why isn’t District 6 using the money from marijuana sales in Colorado to fund its facility needs?
- How many years will it take to pay off the bond issue?
- Why would the District work to pass a Mill Levy Override before the bond issue when the building needs are so great?
- Where will students go when Greeley West and Madison are being rebuilt?
A bond issue is a way of raising money through an increase in residential and commercial property taxes. That money is used for large capital projects. A bond issue can only be used for buildings, equipment, furniture and repairs to buildings. It cannot be used for salaries, benefits, programs or other operational costs. Issuing bonds is the only way school districts can build schools, and make major repairs and renovations.
Revenues collected from a bond issue can ONLY be used for bricks and mortar - new buildings, renovations to buildings, repairs, furniture and equipment. A Mill Levy Override is typically used to fund operational costs, such as salaries, textbooks and digital content, computers, programs and learning materials. While Mill Levy Override dollars can be used for repairs and building maintenance, they typically are not.
The cost to homeowners for the $395 million bond will be $2.64 per month for each $100,000 of home value, or $31.68 annually. Based on the price of the average home in Greeley, most homeowners will pay about $100 a year to fund this bond issue.
Because of state law, commercial property owners pay a much higher tax rate than residential property owners. This issue will cost a commercial property owner $10.69 per month for each $100,000 of property value, or $128.29 annually.
Why does a Bond Issue need to be funded through a property tax increase? Why can’t District 6 levy a sales tax?
School districts in the state of Colorado are only allowed to increase revenue through a tax on property located within the boundary of the school district. School districts cannot levy a sales tax or any other tax to fund its needs.
Why can’t money from the 2017 Mill Levy Override be used to fund new buildings, renovations and repairs?
The revenues from the Mill Levy Override have been used for critical emergency repairs at some buildings, including roof repairs, new boilers and several other items. However, the Mill Levy Override provides between $16 and $18 million annually, depending on the assessed valuation of property, and sunsets after 7 years. That amount is not sufficient to do major remodeling, renovations, repairs or construct new buildings.
Why are so many repairs and renovations needed on existing schools? Has District 6 failed to keep up with maintenance?
District 6 has kept up with the maintenance of its schools and buildings, and has completed critical repairs where needed. However, because of a significant cut in state funding that started in 2010, District 6 officials at the time decided to put money into teachers and programs that contributed to student learning rather than invest large amounts of limited funding into its buildings. Although it has kept up with major repairs, District 6 “deferred” or put off some of those repairs that were not absolutely critical because there wasn’t enough money to keep up with the demand. This deferred maintenance accumulates over time, and the money needed to complete those repairs grows. The state of Colorado has not adequately funded schools to address repairs and renovations of buildings, as well as building new schools for growth. School districts must ask its local voters to fund major repairs, additions to buildings, renovations and the construction of new schools.
In 2012, District 6 asked voters to approve a small Bond Issue - $8.1 million - which was used as matching funds for a Building Excellent Schools Today grant for the tear down and replace John Evans Middle School. This bond and the $22 million grant paid for the construction of Prairie Heights Middle School, which opened in 2015. The last major bond issue was in 2002, and paid for the construction of Ann K. Heiman Elementary School, Bella Romero Academy 4-8 Campus and Harold S. Winograd K-8. These were the last additional schools built in District 6. A Bond Issue in 1996 paid for the construction of Northridge High School, and major additions and renovations to Greeley West High School and Greeley Central High School.
All tax revenues from marijuana sales earmarked for education go into a variety of grant funds, the largest of which is the Building Excellent Schools Today grant fund, which receives $40 million annually from taxes on marijuna. To put that in perspective, it is estimated the construction cost of rebuilding Greeley West High School is $112 million, more than twice what is available annually statewide in the BEST grant fund. BEST grants are open to all school districts in Colorado, are highly competitive and require a large matching grant. District 6 has received some of these grants, most recently for the replacement of the roof at Scott Elementary School. But the grants do not begin to address the total facility needs in District 6. Learn more at https://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/2019marijuanarevenue.
These bonds will be paid off over 25 years, but the work on rebuilding, repairing and upgrading schools will begin next summer!
Why would the District work to pass a Mill Levy Override before the bond issue when the building needs are so great?
This was a strategic decision. District 6 had never passed a Mill Levy Override before 2017, and was in desperate need for additional operational dollars to directly support student learning, such as text books and digital content, computers, security cameras, summer school programming, after school programming, school buses, and raises for hourly wages that were below market. The Board of Education and the superintendent agreed the Mill Levy Override had to take precedent over a bond issue, but that a bond issue would need to quickly follow the passage of a Mill Levy Override.
Both Greeley West High School and Madison Elementary School have enough land on the campus to construct a new school while students are still educated in the old facility. While this will cause some minor inconvenience, ie. parking, noise, lack of access to the entire property, it is much better than displacing students during construction. District 6 wants to work as hard as possible to cause the least disruption possible for students.