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Bond issue to come before voters

By Staff | Apr 16, 2010

The fate of major renovation and a new addition at Rugby Jr.-Sr. High is in the hands of Rugby school district voters.

At its April 13 meeting, the Rugby school board unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the issuance of $6 million in zero interest general obligation bonds toward school improvements, and set the bond election for Tuesday, June 8.

It’s the first time in more than three decades school district voters will be asked to pass a bond issue. A super majority, or 60 percent, is necessary for approval.

Jeff Lind, school superintendent, outlined the 15-year repayment plan to board members, which figures to be $440,000 per year. That includes bonding agency administrative fees. The district’s debt limit is just over $6 million.

The zero interest school improvement bonds which the school can tap into are estimated to save the district just over $2 million in interest fees over the 15-year period, according to Dave Anderson, board president.

And while property owners will see an increase in taxes for the additional 34 mills required to cover for the school improvements, Lind reminded the board that just two years ago the total school general mill levy was at 185. Today, it’s 110 mills.

District residents are being asked for some of those 75 mills back to complete needed improvements. According to district projections, the estimated fiscal year 2011 tax impact on a residential property valued at $100,000 is $154 and $172 for agriculture and commercial property valued at that figure.

If the bond issue is approved, it would likely be 2011 before any construction begins.

The next few months will be used to inform the public about the upcoming bond issue election, the requested funds and the impact to local taxpayers as well present the planned renovation and new addition at the Jr.-Sr. High.

A golden opportunity to do that will be this Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m. when the school district holds its long term planning meeting in the Rugby Jr.-Sr. High library. The public meeting is required every two years by the state Department of Public Instruction to inform residents about enrollment projections, curriculum and staffing as well as facility plans.

Part of the meeting will be spent showing the project architect’s first draft of improvements and new construction at the Jr.-Sr. High as well as the new windows and lighting at Ely Elementary. All totaled, the project is estimated at $6.5 million.

The Ely project, however, will be funded primarily using the district’s one-time federal stimulus funds and some building levy dollars. None of the requested bonds will go to that project.

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