In October 2018, Greeley-Evans School District 6 contracted with an architectural firm, the Cunningham Group, to conduct a Facility Needs Assessment on every school and building in District 6. A 60-member Community Facilities Planning Team began meeting to advise the Facility Needs Assessment and identify priorities for addressing the facility needs in District 6. In May, the Community Facilities Planning Team recommended that the Board of Education consider putting a Bond Issue on the ballot.
The Facility Needs Assessment report revealed that every school in District 6, including charter schools, are in need of repairs, renovations, and sometimes, replacement and rebuilding. The overall needs in the District are nearly $1 billion. Five schools - Greeley West, Madison Elementary, Scott Elementary, Brentwood Middle and Bella Romero Academy K-3 Campus - were all recommended for tear down and replacement. The cost of trying to renovate and repair these schools is approaching the cost of a total replacement, and structural issues are so significant that a complete rebuild is recommended for these schools.
In addition, the study cited needed repairs and renovations at every school, including enhancements for safety and security, removal of asbestos, and replacement and repairs to larger systems, such as heating and air conditioning and roofs. Improvements to instructional spaces, including career and college readiness programs, were also recommended.
On August 12, the Board of Education voted unanimously to place a $395 million bond issue on the November 5, 2019 ballot. To view, please click HERE.
The cost to homeowners for the $395 million bond will be $2.64 per month for each $100,000 of property value, or $31.68 annually. Based on the price of the average home in Greeley, most homeowners will pay about $100 a year to fund this bond issue. Because of state law, commercial property owners pay a much higher tax rate than residential property owners. This issue will cost a commercial property owner $10.69 per month for each $100,000 of property value, or $128.29 annually.
Every school in District 6, including charter schools, will receive money for structural upgrades from this Bond Issue. Specific items included in this Bond Issue are:
- Replacement of Greeley West High School, increasing the capacity from 1,000 to 1,800
- Replacement of Madison Elementary School, and either rebuilding as an elementary or a K-8, based on input from the community
- Construction of a new K-8 school in District 6, with a capacity of 900 students.
- A 50,000-square-foot addition to McAuliffe STEM Academy K-8 school to address overcrowding. Right now the school is 450 students over capacity.
- A 35,000-square-foot addition to Chappelow Arts Magnet K-8 to address overcrowding
- Enhancements to safety and security, including securing entrances at all schools and replacing door hardware and locks
- Accessibility improvements in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Roof repairs and replacements on some sites
- Heating, ventilation and cooling system upgrades at some sites.
- Funds for every school for instructional and career and college preparation upgrades
- Charter schools will receive money for repairs, renovations, safety and security and instructional upgrades.
The Bond Issue does require the approval of voters and will be paid for through an increase on residential and commercial property taxes. This is the only way a school district can raise funds for capital improvements.
- Greeley-Evans School District 6 schools are currently 5,000 students over capacity district-wide.
- District 6 has not constructed any additional, non-charter schools since 2003. The District has grown by 7,000 students in the past 20 years.
- The money from this ballot measure will provide much-needed funding for repairs and renovations of public schools, including charter schools.
- This ballot issue will also begin to address capacity issues by constructing a new K-8 and adding capacity to some schools.
- The State of Colorado does not provide specific funding to school districts for capital improvements, including new schools, major renovations and repairs, upgrades to security and safety, upgrades to systems such as heating and cooling, or renovations for programs. The only funding available for capital projects comes through state grants, which require significant matching funds and don't cover all needs.
- It is the responsibility of District 6 and the community to do everything possible to ensure students and staff are safe. This measure would pay for additional security measures, such as safe entryways, updated locks and door hardware and the removal of some portable, temporary buildings.
- A Bond Oversight Committee will be appointed to ensure that District 6 uses the money from the Bond to fund programs and learning opportunities as promised.
- Taxes should not support schools because they only serve students, which is a small segment of the population.
- This measure would increase property taxes. Due to the Gallagher amendment, this puts a larger burden on business owners in the communities of Greeley and Evans.
- District 6 doesn't need additional revenue. It should make cuts to fund facility needs.
- There is not sufficient accountability or oversight on how this money will be used.
- It is the responsibility of the state to fund public education. This measure asks local property owners to take on some of that responsibility.
- Some may not agree with how District 6 has spent its money to this point, and believe there is room for better financial management.
- District 6 should find money from other sources, such as charitable organizations and grants.