Election 2017: Hayden Schools looks to build modern campus with passage of 3A | SteamboatToday.com

Election 2017: Hayden Schools looks to build modern campus with passage of 3A

Tom Ross

A vote recount on Nov. 30 confirmed the passage of Hayden's $22.9 million school bond intended to fund new school buildings.
File photo
Ballot issue 3A Shall Hayden School District debt be increased by $22,296,400, with a repayment cost of up to $38,900,000, and shall district taxes be increased by up to $1,945,000 annually by the issuance and payment of general obligation bonds to provide local matching money required for the district to receive approximately $41,000,000 in state grant funds (which are not required to be repaid) under the building excellent schools today (“BEST”) program to finance the costs of: Acquiring, constructing, equipping, and furnishing a consolidated PK-12 facility to provide state-of-the-art, safe and secure learning environment for students and staff; Renovating and improving the existing elementary school facility and incorporating the elementary facility into the new PK-12 facility; Renovating, updating, repurposing, and/or demolishing certain existing district facilities to the extent necessary to accomplish capital improvement goals; And to the extent remaining funds are available for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, repairing and improving district capital assets, with such general obligation bonds to bear interest, mature, be subject to redemption, with or without premium of not more than three percent, and be issued at such time, at such price (at, above or below par) and in such manner and containing such terms, not inconsistent with this ballot issue, as the board of education may determine, and shall ad valorem property taxes be levied without limit as to the mill rate to generate an amount sufficient in each year to pay the principal of, premium if any, and interest on such debt and to fund any reserves for the payment thereof, provided that any revenue produced by such mill levy shall not exceed $1,945,000 annually; And shall the district's debt limit be increased from an amount equal to 20% of the district's assessed value to an amount equal to 6% of the district’s actual value, as certified by the county assessors of Routt County? Election 2017 — Routt County ballot issues  Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy Hayden Schools looks to build modern campus with passage of 3A Soroco withdraws mill levy request for salaries due to math error Ref. 2B Steamboat residents to decide fate of city council health insurance plans 5A promises to bring new era of affordable housing to Steamboat area  Tax dollars from 2A would fund infrastructure improvements in Hayden For complete Steamboat Pilot & Today coverage of the 2017 election, visit steamboattoday.com/news/election.

With its aging secondary schools deemed unsafe, the Hayden  School District is pursuing a plan that could help the district of 443 students build a new, 21st-century school campus for 33 cents on the dollar.

The goal is contingent on a tentative $41 million Colorado Department of Education “Best Grant” coming together with Hayden School District voters approving a $22.3 million bond issue along with a property tax on Nov. 7 to pay back the debt.

The ballot question seeks a tax increase that would generate no more than $1.945 million annually and is estimated to cost taxpayers $9.75 a month for every $100,000 of assessed valuation on their home.

The district’s goal, School Board President Brian Hoza said, is to leverage $22.3 million in bonds with grant monies to build a preschool through 12th-grade campus designed to meet the district’s needs for the next 50 years on 22 acres of land the district already owns at the site of the present elementary school. The site is just a few blocks from downtown Hayden and west of the Routt County Fairgrounds.

“This current (grant) cycle is being considered as a lifetime opportunity to have grant funding available,” Hoza said. “We have one of the greatest needs in the state, validated by a third party.”

Hayden Superintendent Christy Sinner said the $22.3 million the district hopes to borrow is very close to the amount of money required to bring the existing middle school and high school buildings, which also house administrative offices, up to modern standards of safety and efficiency.

How bad is the shape of the existing buildings?

The roof of the administration/middle school wing collapsed in 2008 and is still not up to code. In 2011, the middle school gym had to be removed because it was failing, and middle school students now share the elementary school gym.

The kitchen for the secondary school is not usable. But of greater concern is the fact that the 19 different entrances to the buildings cannot be adequately secured.

“There are many aspects of our building that are functionally obsolete,” Sinner said. “They work, but if we need parts, we go onto eBay.”

Hayden district needs voters elsewhere to reject tax questions

However, fate and the enthusiasm of voters in other school districts around the state may ultimately determine if the Hayden district receives the vital “Best Grant” from the state. The school district is on a wait list and ranked sixth for one of four grants to be awarded this year.

Not only does the district need its voters to approve the local bond issue, but it also needs voters in other school districts to turn down similar ballot questions, to clear a path for Hayden’s new building plans.

“We need two out of four (other) ballot questions to fail,” Hoza said.

However, should Hayden School District voters pass the bond issue, but the district fail to be awarded the grant in 2017, there would still be hope. The affirmative vote would still be viable for the 2018 and 2019 grant cycles, Hoza added.

The Hayden School District’s information campaign on behalf of the bond issue is being led by Hayden resident Kevin Kleckler.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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