Like the bond measures on the ballot last fall, this bond package is meant to address the increasing number of families who will eventually overload the district's capacity.
“The growth is here. This needs to pass,” Board President Anne Simpson said during a Feb. 8 meeting. “And so we have to position this out further in order to be able to meet that growth.”
All but five schools in the district will be above capacity by 2030 without new schools, according to a presentation by the district’s Long Range Planning Committee. Several campuses are already at capacity.
The new bond package, recommended by the committee and approved by the board, is more than $240 million less than the November bond package. Like the previous bond package, the 2021 bond will be split into four referendums that cover new facilities and capital improvements, stadium renovations and upgrades, other recreation facilities and technology upgrades.
The district’s assistant superintendent for facilities, Tim McClure, said removing enough projects from the bond package to make a significant dent in the price will mean that the district will likely need to bring another bond to the ballot box in about two years.
“We’re now a year behind on everything,” McClure said. “Everything we push off is going to cost you more in the future.”
He also noted that the latest three-year plan for the bonds would mean no increase to the district's tax rate if the measures are approved.
Some of the projects under consideration in November were postponed by the committee to bring down the cost of the 2021 bond package and take into account the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that might make voters wary of spending too much. The postponed items include land acquisition, school furniture replacement and recreational facility upgrades.
The previous bond package, which was originally planned for May 2020 but ended up on the November ballot due to the pandemic, totaled $986.6 million.
Superintendent Ryder Warren said that the planning committee had been working on the same problem for over a year, including the planning period leading up to the May 2020 election.
“[The LRPC] worked longer on this ... issue than any other Long Range Planning Committee before them,” Warren said. “As soon as Tim called them after the November election, they got right back to work.”
In addition to the bond election, two positions on the Board of Trustees, Place 1 and Place 2, will be up for election on May 1. The seats are currently held by DeAnne Hatfield and Mark Schluter, respectively.