• What happens now that a bond has passed?

    1. Does this mean no more split schedules at the high school?

    The construction of a third district high school will alleviate overcrowding at Prairie View and Brighton high schools. This, however, will not happen until the new high school opens (scheduled for Fall 2018). PVHS and BHS will need to remain on a split schedule system until this occurs.

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    2. How will School District 27J monitor the expenditures of these funds?
    In addition to our own internal accounting procedures, the School District 27J Board of Education has appointed a six-person community bond oversight committee to monitor that these funds are being used for their intended purposes. This committee is made up of community members, representing each district geographical region and selected through an application process. They will be joined by two representatives from the 27J Board of Education. This committee will meet on a regular basis to receive updates on the progress of bond projects and their financial status.

     
    3. How will the passage of this bond affect school attendance boundaries?
    District staff will  begin the process of creating new attendance boundaries. Creating a new attendance area will also require modification to existing school attendance area boundaries. A Boundary Planning Committee will be established to recommend an attendance area boundary for the new school and other schools that may be affected. The public will be invited to participate on the Boundary Planning Committee.                    

     Several boundary option scenarios will be created and evaluated by the Committee before presenting the best options to the public.   Boundary options are presented to the public through a series of open house forums where parents may review boundary options, discuss the options and ask questions of committee members and provide written input on boundary preferences.

    The committee will then forward a recommended boundary option to the Superintendent and Board of Education for approval.

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    4. Will schedule changes at other grade levels still be necessary?
    The construction of new schools will solve School District 27J's enrollment challenges and there will not be a need for discussions about split schedule at the middle school level and year-round calendar at the elementary level.

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    5. Will the new building furniture and instructional materials needed to open the school be purchased with bond proceeds?
    The bond issue will include the cost of providing all furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) and instructional materials.

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    6. How can the district afford teachers and staff for these new schools they want to build?

    Over the past 15 years, School District has opened nine new schools:

    Thimmig Elementary - 2002

    Pennock Elementary – 2003

    Second Creek Elementary – 2003
    Prairie View High School – 2006
    West Ridge Elementary – 2007
    Turnberry Elementary – 2008
    Prairie View Middle School - 2008
    Stuart Middle School -2009
    Brantner Elementary – 2012

    State school districts are also allowed to seek voter approval on a mill levy override that would provide additional money for district operations (such as academic programs, technology, staff compensation) in addition to the property taxes that district residents already pay. In its history, School District 27J has passed one mill levy override – this was in 2000 for a total of $750,000.

    School District 27J’s lack of success in gaining additional mill levy override funds coupled with years of cuts to education funding at the state level leave our district as one of the lowest funded school districts in the state in terms of combined PPR and mill levy override funding.

    While a successful bond election would build additional schools and we would be able to provide teachers and staff for these schools, it will not change the large disparity in how our school district is funded compared to other metro area school districts, especially considering the enormous growth we have seen over the past 15 years.

    These schools have been built and opened thanks to the support of School District 27J voters through the approval of school construction bonds. School construction bonds can only be used for the renovation, construction and equipping of school facilities.

    The district has been able to hire the teachers, administrators and staff for these new schools through state-allocated Per Pupil Revenue attached to each student who attends these schools. Our district’s historically accurate enrollment projections indicate that we will have the student enrollment numbers to staff these schools.

     
     
     
    1. What are school construction bonds?
    A school construction bond is a loan to the District and is the primary way a school district can borrow money for building construction.
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    2. What is a bond election?
    A bond election is a ballot issue in the November election which authorizes a school district to borrow money by selling bonds. The election also authorizes an increase in property taxes to repay the borrowed money and interest. The election date is November 3, 2015.
     
    3. What is the difference between a school construction bond and a mill levy override?
    A school construction bond is a loan to the school district that may only be used for capital purposes. The funds may be used for new schools, building renovations, major repairs, building site work, etc. A mill levy (a tax imposed) is collected to repay the bonds. A mill levy override creates an annual source of revenue that the district can use for any operational needs approved by the Board of Education.
     
    4. How much will the proposed bond cost taxpayers?

    The cost of the bond will be approximately about $1.26 per month per $100,000 of home value. 
     
    5. Does the ballot language put limits on how much the district can raise my taxes?
    The  ballot language speaks specifically to School District 27J increasing debt by $248 million for the construction of new district schools, additional modular classrooms and expansions and renovations to existing buildings. Under state law, the district can only raise taxes for the purpose of paying the bond. Once the bond is paid, taxes will return to their previous level. The ballot language limits the district to a maximum annual repayment of $26.3 million. The district cannot exceed this amount. The number of mills the district must levy to raise the $26.3 million will vary annually based on certified assessed valuations of residential and commercial properties as determined by county assessors. This is why the ballot question uses the term without limitation as to rate - the rate can change each year and go up or down depending on the assessed value. The rate imposed, however, cannot ever produce revenue that exceeds the maximum annual repayment cost of $26.3 million.
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    6. Why does the ballot language refer to a mill levy?

    All property taxes are called a mill levy. The definition of a mill levy is a tax imposed on real estate. The ballot question specifically refers to the property tax collected to retire the loan (bonds) used in the capital construction projects. Funds received as the result of this specific election cannot, by law, be used for purposes other than what is specified within the ballot question.


    7. Why are my taxes so high?

    Overall property tax rates vary depending on your location within the School District, but the school district portion remains the same. Regardless of where you live your property is assessed at the same rate for the general operations of the District and repayment of the existing school construction loans. Overall property taxes vary as a result of the cost of the various services or improvements provided by governmental agencies to your property. These may include services like libraries, water and sanitation, fire control and other metro district services.
     
    8. Why are my taxes higher than my friends across town?
    Individual property taxes are not all related to school costs. Some of our school district residents live in areas with higher taxes due to other taxes such as community improvement initiatives, recreation districts, etc.

    9. Why do residents in some cities help pay for schools in other cities?
    The School District encompasses 215 square miles which includes all of the City of Brighton, the northern range of Commerce City, the eastern portion of the City of Thornton, small portions of the Cities of Aurora and Broomfield as well as portions of unincorporated Adams and Weld Counties. All property owners within the District contribute equitably to pay off any approved bonds. Historically, all property owners in the district contributed to build schools in the Brighton area where most of the District’s population was located. As the population has grown in other parts of the district, schools have been and will continue to be built in these areas as well.
     
     
    10. Do people who live in apartments pay property taxes?
    Renters do not pay, only owners. Although renters do pay indirectly through the rent they pay to the property owner.
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    11. Why do we need more schools?

    School District 27J is the fastest growing school district in the Front Range.  Over the last 10 years the District has grown by 102%, creating the need for additional school capacity.  Young families are attracted to the area due to the affordability of new housing and growing employment opportunities. 

    Throughout the District, we are experiencing overcrowding in our elementary schools. We need to provide adequate elementary neighborhood school capacity for new and existing young families as their students enter our schools.
    We also have to build more secondary (middle and high) school space now for two reasons.  

    Not only do we need to provide space for students new to our district, but we must accommodate all of our current students leaving elementary school and moving into middle and high school.  The District experienced a large influx of elementary students (over 1,000 per year) during the mid-2000’s. Those students are now entering middle and high school, and all middle schools and both high schools are either overcrowded now or will be within the next two to three years.  We need to continue to build schools to relieve our overcrowding.

     
    12. How do builders and developers contribute?
    Developers and homebuilders can share in the cost of district schools in two ways. New developments dedicate land for the construction of new schools based on the planned student yield of their development. The District may opt to receive cash-in-lieu of the land dedications from developers to purchase land for other school sites. Developers may also contribute a voluntary fee to the Capital Facility Fee Foundation (CFFF) for each residential unit they construct within the District. The CFFF, in turn, provides the funds to the District to construct new schools. To date, the CFFF has contributed over $10 million for new school facilities. 
     
    13. Are there plans for more charter schools to be built?

    Charter schools play a significant role in meeting our capacity needs. SD27J has the highest proportion of charter school students in the state. The district considers all applications for new charter schools. There are currently no applications by any charter school organizations to build a charter school in the district. The 2015 bond question does include money for an expansion to Bromley East Charter School and money for additional classrooms at Eagle Ridge Academy.

    14. Where are we experiencing overcrowding, and how will the proposed schools relieve that overcrowding?

    Last year’s enrollment was 17,176 PK-12.  This year’s enrollment is expected to reach 17,607 PK-12 students.  By 2018, enrollment is projected at nearly 20,000 students. 

    Both Brighton and Prairie View High Schools are currently overcrowded.  The overcrowding will be severe beginning 2015, and by 2018 there will be 1,122 more students than the schools can accommodate. 

    In the fall of 2015, three of the four middle schools are overcrowded and by the following year, all four middle schools will be overcrowded.  By 2018, enrollment will exceed school capacity by over 570 students.  In the north area, Northeast Elementary School will be overcrowded in the coming years by over 200 students.  In the south area, Turnberry Elementary is already overcrowded and has had to relocate its preschool students into neighboring schools. The five schools in our south area will not be able to provide enough capacity to serve the total enrollment there by 2019.  In the west area, where only the first phase (one-half school) and one other elementary exist to serve neighborhood students, crowding will be a serious problem beginning 2016 at Brantner Elementary, and 2017 at West Ridge Elementary. In the west area, we anticipate that there will be over 220 more students than seats by 2018. The proposed new schools are expected to provide adequate capacity as follows:

    ·       Brantner Elementary Completion (2016) will provide adequate capacity through 2021.
    ·       New Elementary #12 (2017) will provide adequate capacity through 2022.
    ·       New Elementary #13 (2020) will provide adequate capacity to the north area for at least five years to 2025.
    ·       The new High School #3 is expected to provide adequate high school capacity to serve the west area for over 10 years.
     
     
     
    1. What are school construction bonds?
    A school construction bond is a loan to the District and is the primary way a school district can borrow money for building construction.

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    2. What is a bond election?

    A bond election is a ballot issue in the November election which authorizes a school district to borrow money by selling bonds. The election also authorizes an increase in property taxes to repay the borrowed money and interest. The election date is November 3, 2015.

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    3. How will the bond funds be spent?
    The bond will allow for the construction of a new high school, a new middle school two new elementary schools, the completion of Brantner Elementary and major renovations at Brighton High School, Northeast Elementary, Brighton Heritage Academy, Overland Trail Middle School and Vikan Middle School. In addition to the new schools and major renovations planned, every school in the District will receive improvements as the result of this bond. A complete list of the proposed projects is available on the school district website here.

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    4. What is the difference between a school construction bond and a mill levy override?

    school construction bond is a loan to the school district that may only be used for capital purposes. The funds may be used for new schools, building renovations, major repairs, building site work, etc. A mill levy (a tax imposed) is collected to repay the bonds. A mill levy override creates an annual source of revenue that the district can use for any operational needs approved by the Board of Education.

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    5. Does the ballot language put limits on how much the district can raise my taxes?
    The ballot language speaks specifically to School District 27J increasing debt by $248 million for the construction of new district schools, additional modular classrooms and expansions and renovations to existing buildings. Under state law, the district can only raise taxes for the purpose of paying the bond. Once the bond is paid, taxes will return to their previous level. The ballot language limits the district to a maximum annual repayment of $26.3 million. The district cannot exceed this amount. The number of mills the district must levy to raise the $26.3 million will vary annually based on certified assessed valuations of residential and commercial properties as determined by county assessors. This is why the ballot question uses the term without limitation to rate - the rate can change each year and go up or down depending on the assessed value. The rate imposed, however, cannot ever produce revenue that exceeds the maximum annual repayment cost of $26.3 million.

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    6. How much will the proposed bond cost taxpayers?

    The cost of the bond will be approximately about $1.26 per month per $100,000 of home value.

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    7. Can we see a map of the proposed locations of the new facilities?
    Yes, the maps can be found here.

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