In the Centennial school district, it is well known that there are many improvements and repairs that need to be made within the schools. The district has been working on a facilities planning effort that would solve a lot of the physical issues of the school buildings. The School Board has put together a “Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee” to gather information on the needs of the facilities within the district.
There have been meetings in many of the schools that have shed light on the Committee’s plans for the faculty of the district. During one of these meetings at Meadows Elementary school, the Superintendent along with other members of the committee, gave a presentation on what the needs of the school district are as well as how much they are asking the voters for. The planning effort will be put on the 2020 election ballot in hopes of voters approving of the asking price. After inspections of the schools and data being analyzed by the committee, it was established that to solve the determined, most important needs of the schools, the district would need $137 million. The voters would not approve of this high of an asking price so it was initially narrowed to $78 million. Now it has been reduced further to $60 million.
The buildings in this school district have average of 55-years-old so there are many things within them that need to be improved or replaced altogether. The heating systems are mostly original, the CHS tennis courts are cracked and unsafe, there is lots of rust and the boilers need to be constantly tended to. There are also buildings that aren’t safe for earthquakes.
The last time a bond, the official term for facilities planning effort after approval, was 19 years ago. Since then no updates to the schools have been completed.
Voters turned down an 2016, $80 million bond.
But the bond from 19 years ago will be paid off in the spring of 2020, so the committee is hoping to not add more money on top of it until it ends and instead just replace it with this new planning effort. If $60 million is requested in taxes for school facilities, it will remain at the current rate. This would be where a homeowner with a $250,000 home will pay $240 per year in taxes.
The district is eligible for a $7.5 million dollar match from the state if the bond is passed. The current plan is to try to convert Parklane and Oliver into a grades six through eight middle school but helping all of the schools first is the priority. If the ballot issue is approved, the board of education will appoint a community based bond oversight committee to review fiscal and faculty decision on expenditures.
The district wants to get the planning effort passed this time and in the spring it is a good time to put it on the ballot. This is because no other district, as of current knowledge, is running and asking for money at the same time. Also construction costs are going up eight percent a year so the longer the district waits to renovate, the more it’ll cost. If it doesn’t pass this time then money may have to be taken out of the general fund to pay for the necessities and it would end up taking away from the education.
More information will be provided as time goes on and a community flyer will be mailed to the people of the district as well. The facilities planning effort isn’t a bond until it has been approved by the school board.