NCA discusses SVVSD bond measure
October 22, 2016
Niwot Community Association (NCA) board members agreed to continue the group’s policy of serving only as an information conduit for the Niwot/Gunbarrel community when St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) officials asked for the group’s endorsement of the district’s proposed mill levy increase on the November ballot.
Although several board members expressed individual support for the measure and praised the school district’s student academic achievement and fiscal responsibility, the NCA board agreed that the NCA’s primary function is to provide information to the community on issues.
The school district is seeking to raise $260.34 million in additional tax revenue, which equates to approximately $21.84 a year per $100,000 of assessed value of a home. The funds will be used to construct three additional schools to serve fast-growing enrollment areas, add classrooms and science labs in 29 of the district’s 50 schools, and enhance the core curriculum along with science, technology and engineering programs in the district, SVVSD Superintendent Don Haddad told NCA members.
The funds also will be used to replace outdated heating and ventilation systems, improve plumbing and electrical systems, fix and replace roofs, and improve the safety and security of school buildings. In addition, moneys will be used to build an Innovation Center open to all district students. The bond money is restricted from funding any employee salaries for the district.
“Even though I hate to be this corny, I call this the ‘concrete’ bond issue,” Haddad said jokingly.
The St. Vrain Valley School District is now the seventh largest in the state and has approximately 32,000 students. Enrollment has grown by more than 800 students a year, and is projected to continue at that pace for several years. “At build-out, we project the district to serve 85,000 students,” Haddad said, “and the only way to address fast growth is to pass a bond issue.” In response to a question, Haddad said that if this bond levy is defeated, the schools will have “many more” portable classrooms. The last district facilities bond was approved by voters in 2008.
Under the proposed bond issue, Niwot Elementary is slated to receive security cameras and entrance upgrades, a new bus lane, and water heater and roof repairs. Sunset Middle School also will receive some needed repairs. Niwot High School will have repairs made to the roof, the sewers and drainage systems, along with renovations in its auditorium.
“We will be renovating some Niwot High classrooms too, and the library will receive an overhaul,” Haddad said. “We want the library to provide a college level of materials to our students.”
Haddad said district planners have their designs completed for the work so that if the bond issue is approved the district “is ready to hit the ground running.”
“We can get the best pricing with a quick start,” Haddad said. “We use local contractors if we can, but we always look for the best quality work.”