Proposition I is a no tax rate bond issue on the June 2nd ballot that will raise $1,350,000 for the New Haven School District. The bond language states that these funds can only be used for the purpose of providing funds to replace roofing at the high school/middle school campus; to make safety and security upgrades throughout the district; to install additional parking and repair driveways; to make gymnasium improvements; to the extent funds are available, prepay existing lease obligations and complete other repairs and improvements to the existing facilities of the District. The current debt service levy of $0.7500 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property will be sufficient to fund this bond issue.
The aging roof of the original northeast wing of the high school was the stimulus for the bond issue. As the roof has aged, rainwater no longer reaches drains and must evaporate in order for the roof to become dry. The school board originally planned to pay for the roof with operating funds, but now feels that this plan would result in reserve balances lower than they would like in order to maintain financial stability for the district. Funding the roof project through debt service allows current operating funds to support the purchase of supplies and paying salaries and benefits without depleting reserve balances.
The bond issue will also fund projects that may be difficult to afford using operating funds. These projects include repairing parking lots and driveways at the elementary and high/middle schools. Additionally, a new parking lot would be constructed at the high/middle school. This parking lot would be used for high school students during the day and provide 50-60 spots for spectators during the evening. An aging air conditioner in the primary hall at the elementary school will be replaced. Gymnasium improvements at the high/middle school would include the replacement of cracked bleacher seats, new fans to improve air circulation, and a new gym floor. The current gym floor is original to the building dating back to 1964 and has numerous dead spots. The new floor will still include Coach Steinhoff’s signature and remain named “Ray Steinhoff Court”.
Exterior doors on both campuses will be equipped with electronic locks requiring key fobs to enter the building. This eliminates the requirement to rekey the building if a staff member’s key is lost or stolen. The district is currently undergoing a security review and further items could be suggested and purchased with bond funds. Reconstruction of the high/middle school parking lot lighting would also take place to provide safer walking paths to the building.
The District is currently required to utilize operating revenues to make the principal and interest payments on its Series 2011 and Series 2014 Leases. The bond issue would allow the District to free up approximately $46,000 annually of operating funds for the next nine years by paying off the leases with money raised by selling the bonds.
What will happen if the issue does not pass?
The replacement of the high/middle school roof and repairs to the Elementary School driveway would be completed using the operating budget. This budget is used to pay salaries, purchase supplies, and fund day-to-day operations of the school district. The remaining projects will be canceled or deferred until repairs are no longer possible, at which time critical needs would also be addressed using the operating budget.
What is the economic impact on district households?
Household tax bills will be the same next November whether or not the bond issue passes. The current $0.7500 debt service fund levy is adequate to repay the existing bonds plus the $1,350,000 of new bonds by extending the levy approximately four years, but not increasing it above the current level. This is feasible due to growth in assessed valuation, interest savings totaling $593,820 from previous bond refinancing and prepayments of principal, as well as very low-interest rates in the current municipal bond market. In the past, the District has been able to shorten the final maturities of previous bond issues saving the taxpayers interest expense. If the municipal bond market is favorable in the future as it has been previously, the District will likely pay off this debt early as well.
More information is available by calling Superintendent Dr. Josh Hoener at (573) 237-3231.