There have been several questions regarding one large bond versus several smaller ones. This was a concept we discussed at length within the Community Vision Team, but here are a few reasons why we decided against it.
First, construction rates are projected to continue to increase at around 6 percent. If we borrow $40 million now and $38.5 million in 15 years, the parts of the project that we put off for 15 years would cost around $90 million to complete. So we could split it up, but we’d be asking for $40 million now and about $90 million in 15 years, which is more than the $78.5 million that is currently proposed. This number reflects only construction increases and doesn’t take into account increases in interest rates or expenses associated with proposing the second bond.
We’d also miss out on the operational savings that the district will experience once this project is complete. Based on research and national standards, four-section elementary schools are the best option for both educational outcomes and efficiency. Combine the changes to the elementary schools with improved systems at the high school, and the district will save around $300,000 per year in operational costs. Staggering the project diminishes this return.
Third, the state has imposed statewide limits on the total amount that districts can propose in any given year, so even if we decided to propose another bond in 10 or 15 years, we’d likely have to wait in line for several more years before putting it to a vote. We’re exempt from this limit this one time only because we haven’t passed a bond in over 25 years. Given this limitation, the committee felt that it was important to affect as many students as possible with this bond proposal.
Finally, the needs in the district are pressing. If we had been doing small bonds the past 40 years, then our district wouldn’t need the attention it does now. Some districts have done that, and they will continue to do that. We’re past that point in Hays, and passing small bonds every decade or two will never get us back on track. This bond accomplishes a lot for the money, and it will set the district on track to not need major corrections like this in the future. Once this bond is paid off and regardless of the obstacles, we should get in the habit of passing small bonds to keep the district moving in a positive direction, but doing it now will not address the needs we’re facing as a district and as a community.
Community Vision Team member