Campaign Season Arrives For School Vote
By Samar Fay Courier Editor
Published: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
The Glasgow School Board voted unanimously Jan. 2 to run two bond issues to finance a new elementary school plus improvements to East Side School and Glasgow High School.
The school board has been studying the district’s facilities for several years and has held public meetings on various proposals, but had not advanced to the hard decision and bond writing stage until now.
A flyer will be mailed this month to all registered voters in the school district explaining the bond election. Ballots will be mailed to voters on Feb. 21. Mail ballots must be returned to the Valley County Election Office by March 14.
The first question voters will be asked is to approve a bond for $16.8 million that will allow the district to build a new K-5 elementary school on the current Irle School site. The old school, built in 1958, has many structural and safety problems that can’t be repaired. The money will also renovate East Side School to handle grades 6 through 8 with more classrooms and bathrooms. The district central kitchen would be moved to the high school and the locker rooms there would be renovated to better accommodate teams during tournaments.
The second bond for $2 million is to remodel the entrances to the Central Office to be handicapped accessible, and at the high school to refurbish the auditorium, to complete the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, to make improvements to the outdoor athletic complex and to pave at least part of the parking lot. The board would make modifications to the property as money allows.
Both bonds would be paid off in 20 years.
Superintendent Bob Connors said the bond language has been reviewed by D.A. Davidson of Bozeman and the school district’s bond counsel is Dorsey & Whitney LLP of Missoula.
Public meetings will be held before the election to explain the plans and the bond election process. Connors said the blueprints for the new school and other improvements are not finished yet, awaiting voter approval of the funding.
The brochure that will be mailed to voters contains a tax analysis figuring the annual cost of the bonds to property owners. Several variations are listed, including the effects of the Keystone XL pipeline, which when built will contribute tax income to the county and lower the cost of the school bond to taxpayers. Although many people assume the pipeline will be built, it has not yet received presidential approval and the schedule of construction is unknown.
The impact of the first bond (without the Keystone pipeline) on property with $100,000 “phase-in value” is $143.57 per year. Factoring in the Keystone at $15 million in taxable value, the tax on the same property would be $68.68 per year. Factoring in the Keystone at $26 million in taxable value, this property would be taxed $48.54 per year.
Figuring taxes on the second bond the same way, the taxes on the $100,000 property would be $18.81, or $8.17 or $5.77 per year.
Connors urges anyone with questions about the bond issues to attend the Building Committee or public informational meetings or call him at 228-2406 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The next school board meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. in the administration building.
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