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$350 million bond measure in BVSD approved for November ballot

The Boulder Valley School District will go for a $350 million bond on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Boulder Valley School District

The Boulder Valley School District will go for a $350 million bond on the Nov. 8 ballot.

On Tuesday, BVSD school board members unanimously approved a Facilities Critical Needs Plan and ballot language for an upcoming bond to be voted on in November. 

If approved by voters, the bond dollars will pay for much-needed upgrades and improvements to several BVSD schools. 

According to Rob Price, BVSD assistant superintendent of operational services, the state of Colorado does not provide enough funding to both educate students and maintain capital assets.

The bond funding would address four critical needs areas: aging facilities, overcrowding, career and technical education and improving playgrounds to accommodate ADA access.

Price told school board members that the average age of BVSD schools is 40 years, with Whittier International Elementary School being 140 years old. 

The district hired a contractor to assess the improvement and maintenance needs of all the district’s buildings. The firm determined that around $670 million of improvements were recommended over the next 10 years with a critical $121 million to be completed within two.

Those critical improvements include removing asbestos from school buildings, masonry issues, paving concerns, mechanical, electrical and life safety issues. 

One of the biggest expenditures would include the replacement of New Vista High School. The building was built in the 1950s and no longer meets the needs of the students. Also, teachers from the school reported that on rainy days it is not uncommon for buckets to be placed throughout the building to catch dripping water.

The district also is looking to the future and wants to build another school in Erie to accommodate the population growth in the area. Price said Meadowlark Elementary is currently at 100% capacity and expects to be at 150% in the next five years.

The bond would also improve facilities to meet the needs of students by aligning learning environments with the current workforce needs and possible career paths of students.

“BVSD currently is not meeting student needs — students are turned down (for future opportunities) due to a lack of learning environments and programming,” Price included in his presentation.

If approved the bond would allow the district to replace engineered wood fiber on playgrounds with rubberized surfaces, allowing all students the opportunity to play together, Price said.

The bond is expected to add $118 annually or $9.83 per month to property taxes for homes valued at $600,000. Businesses would see an increase of $80 per month for each $1 million of non-residential property value, according to Price’s presentation.

After polling voters, the district believes the bond will receive 60% support but could drop to 54% if other tax increases are on the ballot. 

Price told school board members that now is a good time to begin these capital projects because not many school districts are seeking bond approval this year. This means BVSD will have less competition for the same contractors, which keeps the costs down.