May 27, 2010
The superintendent of Falcon School District 49 this week recommended the district ask voters to approve a $125 million bond this fall to pay for additions at several schools and two new schools.
The D-49 board won’t vote on the recommendation until August, but indicated at a meeting Wednesday that district officials should continue planning for a bond question.
If voters approved a $125 million bond, it would increase property taxes on a $100,000 house by $3.25-$3.50 a month, according to a district fact sheet.
The district’s Long Range Planning Committee determined that the fast-growing district’s facility needs at $310 million, with $125 million in improvements deemed “critical.”
The school board in January directed Superintendent Bradley Schoeppey to explore bond and mill levy increase possibilities, which led to this week’s recommendation.
The last tax increase in the district came in 2005, when voters approved an $80.5 million mill levy override – an unusual request for capitol projects. But the district at the time out of room for students and didn’t have enough bonding capacity for a bond measure, said D-49 spokeswoman Stephanie Wurtz Meredith.
That money was earmarked for two new high schools, a new elementary school and several additions.
But rapidly rising construction costs in 2006 put the high schools well over budget and only one, the new Falcon High School, was fully finished. Vista Ridge High School opened without an auditorium, auxiliary gym and other facilities.
If the board decides to go to voters in November with a bond question, the money would pay for these things:
• Remodeling and expansion of Horizon and Falcon middle schools.
• Phase 1 of a new 300-student middle school in Woodmen Hills.
• New 900-student K-8 school in Indigo Ranch.
• A 400-student addition at Falcon High School.
• Phase 2 at Vista Ridge, which would include the addition of facilities eliminated when the district ran out of construction money in 2006 and a new wing.
• District-wide improvement to security, technology and transportation.
The district had 14,398 students in the October 2009 count and continues to grow. It’s expecting nearly 500 additional students this fall and its facilities are at 103 percent of capacity, district officials said.
Growth in the district has been as high as 14 percent per year, although it has slowed to around 3 percent in recent years.
Call the writer at 636-0251.