Elizabeth Schools seeking debt hike

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Elizabeth School District officials are hoping voters support Ballot Issue 3B, a proposal to increase the district's debt in order to acquire needed equipment and repair school facilities.

3B asks voters to OK a district debt increase of $2.7 million — with a repayment cost, including interest, totaling $3.8 million.

In order to increase the district's debt, the bond measure proposes increasing district taxes up to $375,000 annually in order to qualify for matching funds from the state under the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program.

If the ballot initiative is successful, school district officials anticipate receiving a BEST grant totaling $915,404.

Funds generated from the proposed tax increase and state grant are earmarked for:

• Purchasing and installing new emergency communication systems;

• Replacing roofs at Singing Hills Elementary and Elizabeth High School;

• Building upgrades at various school facilities related to health and safety needs;

• Resurfacing the high school track and modifying the pole vault area;

• Buying new school buses and an additional fuel storage tank.

“Elizabeth School District C-1 has conducted a long and broad process to identify critical needs within the district,” states a supporting comment from the district at the end of the ballot measure. “3B will address the highest priority needs with smart, long-term solutions.”

A summary of written comments opposing the bond measure is also included at the end of the ballot question. Those comments question the $1.1 million in anticipated interest payments required to borrow the principal amount of $2.7 million and also state:

• “Every dollar we spend fixing a leaking roof could be better spent in a classroom.”

• “This bond issue leaves much to be identified and answered to present to the voters a clear understanding of exactly what they are being asked to approve.”