The Boulder Valley school board on Tuesday unanimously approved ballot language and a detailed project list for a $350 million capital construction bond issue that will be on November’s ballot.
The cost to homeowners for a $350 million property tax increase would be about $118 a year, or $9.83 a month, for a home valued at $600,000.
“We get to roll our sleeves up and see if we can get this thing passed,” school board President Kathy Gebhardt said.
Superintendent Rob Anderson previously recommended the $350 million amount based on polling, an assessment of the district’s building critical maintenance needs and recommendations from a 23-member capital improvement committee. Polling found about 60% support for a $350 million bond issue.
Projects include $36 million to go toward a new building for Boulder’s New Vista High School, a new $41 million school to relieve overcrowding at Erie’s Meadowlark School and about $44.5 million to support expanded career and technical education offerings at middle and high schools.
Infrastructure improvements to New Vista were included in a previous bond issue, but were put on hold while the district explored rebuilding it. An additional $10 million from that previous bond issue would be included in the school’s project budget.
Meadowlark, a K-8 and the district’s only school in Erie, is at capacity this school year with 663 students and is expected to grow. More pressure also will be placed on Meadowlark as a large residential development, called Parkdale, is built on the eastern edge of the school district between Arapahoe and Baseline roads.
“We know that we have overcrowding issues that are on the horizon,” Anderson said. “Our options will not be good if we let that get away from us.”
For the technical education expansion, district leaders haven’t yet determined which programs would be added to which schools, but promised a collaborative process that would include students and the business community. They also promised flexible spaces that could change as program needs change.
Along with those three projects, about $160 million is earmarked for addressing pressing building needs, such as replacing roofs and boilers. Another $6.8 million would go to accessibility playground improvements, while $8.5 million would cover removal of asbestos materials.
“Delaying critical work will allow buildings to deteriorate and costs to increase,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations Rob Price.
The bond calculations also include $44.5 million for inflation and $8.6 million for reserves.
The only priority identified by the district that wasn’t included was modernizing classrooms with furniture and fixtures at a cost of $25.7 million. Leaving out furniture replacement kept the price tag in a range with more support based on polling.
Boulder Valley’s last capital construction bond issue totaled $576.5 million and was approved by voters in 2014. The final amount grew to $677 million from bond sale premiums, rebates and interest earnings.
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Boulder Daily Camera
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