Breaking Down the Bond and Operating Levy: Get the Facts
During the regular meeting of the Board of Education on July 13, 2023, the Board unanimously approved the Resolution to Proceed with an Issue of Bonds and Operating Levy. The District seeks a 2.83 mill bond issue and a 6.5 mill continuous levy.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOND AND AN OPERATING LEVY?
A bond, simply put, is like a mortgage for a school district. It is a long-term loan that is repaid over time. The funds raised are used for significant construction projects and capital improvements. Funds generated through an operating levy are used for the day-to-day operations of the school district. These include salaries, utilities, transportation, and services for our students. Bond dollars cannot be used for operating purposes.
WHAT WILL STAKEHOLDERS SEE ON THE NOVEMBER 7, 2023 BALLOT?
On the November 7, 2023 ballot, stakeholders will see the 2.83 mill bond issue and the 6.5 mill continuous operating levy. These two issues will be tied together. If approved by the voters, the collection will begin with the December/January 2024 tax bill. Since the District runs on a fiscal year starting in July and ending in June, the District will collect approximately half the levy in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. This is the first time since 2013 that the District has asked for new money.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
On average, the immediate impact of the bond issue will be a .63 mill increase until the current outstanding bond is paid off in December 2028. When the current bond is paid off, the remaining portion of the new bond will be collected at the full estimated average rate of 2.83 mills. This is displayed in the chart below.
The estimated average cost increase to the taxpayer will be approximately $250 annually or approximately $21 per month for both the bond issue and the operating levy for each $100,000 of total auditor assessed value.
This amount can be broken down to $22 per year or $1.84 per month per $100,000 of total auditor assessed value for the new bond through 2028. Beginning in January 2029, with the payoff of the current outstanding bond, the collection for the new bond will be approximately $99 per year or $8.25 per month per $100,000 of total auditor assessed value. The collection for the operating levy will be $228 per year per $100,000 total auditor assessed value, or $19 per month.
Average Additional Cost of Bond
Operating Levy Cost
*Based on $100,000 of total auditor-assessed value.
WHAT WILL THE BOND INCLUDE?
The 2.83 mill bond will be used for the purpose of:
- Constructing, furnishing, and equipping a new building for grades 7 and 8 and includes constructing, furnishing, and equipping a new athletic stadium with related site improvements.
- An addition to the A.I. Root Middle School building to add an academic wing and an addition to the existing cafeteria to accommodate additional students as the building transitions to an intermediate school for students in grades 5 and 6. This bond will also include safety modifications to the front of the building, additional parking, and an improved bus loop and parent drop-off area to improve traffic flow.
- Replacement of the visitor stands (currently sitting adjacent to the parking lot) at Ken Dukes Stadium, which are the original stands and nearing the end of their useful life and must be replaced. These stands will then become the home stands for the stadium, and the current home stands will serve as the visitor's stands.
- As part of the bond, the District is looking to make minimal modifications to Garfield Elementary to transition it to the Board of Education Office and turf the field at A.I. Root Middle School to provide for additional athletic fields, especially with the construction of a new middle school building which would remove Memorial Stadium.
WHY CAN'T THE DISTRICT USE THE SALES TAX FOR THE NEW BUILDING?
The sales tax funds are utilized to pay principal and interest on bonds for Northrop Elementary and Waite Elementary, roofing and paving at all buildings, transportation leasing, and any other capital needs to keep all buildings in working condition. Currently, there are not enough funds available to pay for the bond principal and interest on an additional building.
WHAT DOES THE OPERATING LEVY INCLUDE?
The 6.5 mill operating levy will generate approximately $12 million dollars per year. This is the first time since 2013 that the District has asked for new money. Over these past ten years, we have been fortunate to implement:
Tuition-free, all-day kindergarten for all students
Expansion of gifted programming
Makerspaces in all buildings K-12
College and Career Programming
- College and Career Counselor at the high school level
- CEO Program at high school (Internship)
- Job shadowing for students in Grades 6-12
Added Electives at high school
- PLTW Biomedical Engineering I, II, and III
- Digital Arts Photography
- Family and Consumer Science (Cooking)
Eight new AP courses, bringing the total to 26
Added electives at the middle school level
- MS 101
- World Language Exploration
- PLTW in all grades 6-8
Teaming at the middle school level
- Team days
- More support/interventions for students
More Extracurricular opportunities
- Elementary and middle school STEM
Maintained average class size at elementary
1:1 Technology for students K-12
Updated Classroom Technology (Boxlights)
Expanded School Counseling program at all grade levels
Increased School Resource Officers
Upgraded security systems
Updated curriculum materials in all core content areas
Increased band instructors at the middle school and high school levels
Upgraded lighting in all buildings
The dollars generated by the 6.5 mill operating levy will allow the District to maintain programming and services provided to all students.
Calculating Your Annual Tax Rate
Cost of the Bond and Levy
In order to accurately calculate your ANNUAL RATE, you will need to use the Total Auditor Assessed Value of your home. This is different from the Zillow value of your home. Your Total Auditor Assessed Value can be found HERE.
Tax Amount: $
What Information Should I Use From The Auditor's Website?
When looking at the auditor's website to calculate your tax, please reference the Total Auditor Assessed Value in your calculation. Please see the example below. To go to the auditor's website, click here. You may also reference this example to know what to look for and use in your calculation.