What is a Bond Issue? A bond issue is a way of raising money through an increase in residential and commercial property taxes. That money is used for large capital projects. A bond issue can only be used for buildings, equipment, furniture and repairs to buildings. It cannot be used for salaries, benefits, programs or other operational costs. A bond issue is similar to a mortgage, where the district is taking out a loan that must be repaid over time. Issuing bonds is the only way school districts can build schools, and make major repairs and renovations.
What is the difference between a bond issue and an MLO? Revenues collected from a bond issue can ONLY be used for bricks and mortar - new buildings, renovations to buildings, repairs, furniture and equipment. A Mill Levy Override is typically used to fund operational costs, such as salaries, textbooks and digital content, computers, programs and learning materials. While Mill Levy Override dollars can be used for repairs and building maintenance, they typically are not.
How much will this bond issue cost a residential property owner annually? 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.
How much will this bond issue cost a commercial property owner annually? 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.
Why does a Bond Issue need to be funded through a property tax increase? Why can’t District 6 levy a sales tax? School districts in the state of Colorado are only allowed to increase revenue through a tax on property located within the boundary of the school district. School districts cannot levy a sales tax or any other tax to fund its needs.
Why can’t money from the 2017 Mill Levy Override be used to fund new buildings, renovations and repairs? The revenues from the Mill Levy Override have been used for critical emergency repairs at some buildings, including roof repairs, new boilers and several other items. However, the Mill Levy Override provides between $16 and $18 million annually, depending on the assessed valuation of property, and sunsets after 7 years. That amount is not sufficient to do major remodeling, renovations, repairs or construct new buildings.
Why are so many repairs and renovations needed on existing schools? Has District 6 failed to keep up with maintenance? District 6 has kept up with the maintenance of its schools and buildings, and has completed critical repairs where needed. However, because of a significant cut in state funding that started in 2010, District 6 officials at the time decided to put money into teachers and programs that contributed to student learning rather than invest large amounts of limited funding into its buildings. Although it has kept up with major repairs, District 6 "deferred" or put off some of those repairs that were not absolutely critical because there wasn't enough money to keep up with the demand. This deferred maintenance accumulates over time, and the money needed to complete those repairs grows. The state of Colorado has not adequately funded schools to address repairs and renovations of buildings, as well as building new schools for growth. School districts must ask its local voters to fund major repairs, additions to buildings, renovations and the construction of new schools.
When was the last time District 6 asked voters to approve a Bond Issue? In 2012, District 6 asked voters to approve a small Bond Issue - $8.1 million - which was used as matching funds for a Building Excellent Schools Today grant for the tear down and replace John Evans Middle School. This bond and the $22 million grant paid for the construction of Prairie Heights Middle School, which opened in 2015. The last major bond issue was in 2002, and paid for the construction of Ann K. Heiman Elementary School, Bella Romero Academy 4-8 Campus and Harold S. Winograd K-8. These were the last additional schools built in District 6. A Bond Issue in 1996 paid for the construction of Northridge High School, and major additions and renovations to Greeley West High School and Greeley Central High School.
Why isn’t District 6 using the money from marijuana sales in Colorado to fund its facility needs? All tax revenues from marijuana sales earmarked for education go into a variety of grant funds, the largest of which is the Building Excellent Schools Today grant fund, which receives $40 million annually from taxes on marijuana. To put that in perspective, it is estimated the construction cost of rebuilding Greeley West High School is $112 million, more than twice what is available annually statewide in the BEST grant fund. BEST grants are open to all school districts in Colorado, are highly competitive and require a large matching grant. District 6 has received some of these grants, most recently for the replacement of the roof at Scott Elementary School. But the grants do not begin to address the total facility needs in District 6. Learn more at https://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/2019marijuanarevenue.