BRIGHTON – The School District 27J Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution during its Aug. 26 meeting to place a $148-million bond question on the November general election ballot.
The board has been considering the possibility of pursuing both a bond measure and a $7.5-million mill-levy override until Aug. 26, when Fiedler recommended the board pursue the bond only. District spokesman Kevin Denke said district officials decided to pursue the bond and not the mill levy to provide clarity about what the district's biggest challenge is — capacity.
“We know those operational needs are important and we know we could use additional funding for our students but we didn't want to confuse voters between the bond and the mill levy because we need that additional capacity,” he said. “As much as we need the additional operating revenue to increase programs and opportunities for our students, we desperately need new schools.”
The passage of the bond would help the district combat overcrowding that's occuring throughout the district. A $148 million bond measure would cost about an additional $41.40 annually per $100,000 of home value and would allow the district to build new buildings and make a variety of renovations and improvements to its existing buildings.
The bond would help fund the completion of Brantner Elementary School, the district's third high school and two new elementary schools. It will also allow for expansions and renovations at Brighton High School, Brighton Heritage Academy, Eagle Ridge Academy, Vikan Middle School, and Overland Trail Middle School; modular classrooms to be added to Stuart and Prairie View middle schools; as well as a number of security and infrastructure improvements to every school in the district.
During the meeting, the board received an outpouring of support from dozens of parents, community members and organizations, encouraging board members to move forward with the bond measure. The district also received resolutions of support from Foundations Academy's Board of Directors, Eagle Ridge Academy's Board of Directors and the Brighton Economic Development Corporation.
Fiedler said he was “overwhelmed” by the support of the community, and Director Donna Petrocco thanked everyone for attending the meeting and sharing their feelings. Director Greg Piotraschke reminded everyone that although the board approved the ballot language for the bond, residents still have to get out and vote for the bond measure to be successful.
District officials are now in the process of getting the ballot language to the clerks and recorders of Adams and Weld counties, and Denke said the I Am 27J group is going to move forward with campaign efforts from now on.
In other business
The board approved a request to draw $174,600 from the Capital Facility Fee Foundation for Slater Paul Architects for design services. The district is beginning to plan for its 12th elementary school and will be ready to move forward with the project, pending the approval of the bond measure in November. The elementary school would be built between 104th and 112th avenues near Landmark Drive in Reunion and would relieve some of the overcrowding issues at Turnberry Elementary School.
This is the board's second draw request, as it approved a $204,275 draw request in June related to pre-bond design services for the completion of Brantner Elementary School.
Approved bond question ballot language:
Shall School District No. 27J debt be increased by $148 million, with a repayment cost of $295 million, and shall district taxes be increased $24 million annually, for enlarging, improving, repairing or making additions to school buildings, for equipping or furnishing school buildings, for improving school grounds, or acquiring, constructing or improving any capital asset that the district is authorized by law to own, which improvements may include but are not limited to the following:
• Acquiring, constructing and equipping a new high school and two new elementary schools to reduce overcrowding in the classrooms;
• Renovating, enlarging and improving other school facilities to accommodate student growth;
• Updating, repairing, improving and renovating existing school buildings to increase safety features and promote the teaching skills and technology necessary to prepare students to compete for 21st century jobs; And shall the mill levy be increased in any year without limitation as to rate but only in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and premium, if any, and interest on such debt or any refunding debt when due; the authority for such tax and mill levy increase to terminate when the debt or refunding debt is paid; such debt to be evidenced by the issuance of general obligation bonds or other multiple fiscal year financial obligation, such bonds to be sold in one series or more in an aggregate amount not to exceed the maximum authorized principal amount and repayment cost, on terms and conditions as the Board of Education of the district may determine, including provisions for redemption of the bonds prior to maturity with or without payment of the premium; and shall the district’s debt limit be increased from an amount equal to 20% of the district’s assessed value to 6% of the district’s actual value, each as certified by the county assessors of Adams and Weld Counties and the City and County of Broomfield; and shall the proceeds of such bonds and the revenues from such taxes and any earnings from the investment of such proceeds and revenues be collected and spent without limitation or condition, and without limiting the collection or spending of other revenues or funds by the district under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?