What is a bond?
Bond funds are used for school rebuilds, remodels and repairs. General obligation bonds carry the lowest possible interest rates and are the least costly form of financing available to school districts. Authorization from the voting public is required before the district may issue general obligation bonds.
Why do we need this bond?
Outside engineering experts have determined that nearly half of our school buildings are in significant decline. Plus, the majority of our schools are in need of safety and security upgrades. Current capital funding allows one elementary to rebuilt every eight years. Under this model, our buildings will be forced to last more than 150 years before being rebuilt.
Additionally, bonding now saves the district and taxpayers money. Interest rates are at historic lows and construction costs continue to go up every year. If we bond now, we take into consideration the time value of money. If we do nothing, or if the bond fails to pass, we can expect costs to go up 10 percent every year.
Can’t we just use money from something else, like administration?
Capital projects (building repairs and rebuilds) can only be funded by property taxes through a capital levy. But even if that were possible, it wouldn’t be nearly enough. Granite’s administrative costs are among the lowest in the nation, taking up less than one percent of the budget.
How much of this bond is used for salaries and administration?
None. By law, bond funds cannot be used for salaries.
My property value went up. Doesn’t that add to revenue?
Property tax revenue does not go up with rising property values. Taxing entities must adjust tax rates to account for inflation. The last time Granite raised the capital levy was during the 1999-2000 school year. This revenue can no longer sustain the needs of our schools and children.
Won’t the Our Schools Now Initiative provide money for buildings?
The Our Schools Now Initiative is a ballot measure to increase the state income tax and invest the increase in public education. The initiative stipulates that this added revenue must be used only for academic purposes, and cannot go toward capital projects.
What’s the impact on me?
If the bond passes, a home valued at $250,000 would see an annual property tax increase of approximately $184, or just over $15 a month.
Granite’s property tax rate is below the state average despite being the third largest school district in the state.
What will happen when the bond passes?
Within the first ten years, the district will rebuild 13 schools, remodel 17 schools, and provide ALL schools with revitalizing upgrades, such as:
Security updates, seismic improvements, HVAC, flooring, field improvements, playground updates, parking and pavement upgrades, and more.
The bond will also put in motion a 40-year plan to rebuild and remodel EVERY school in Granite School District. If the bond fails to pass, these plans cannot move forward and our schools will receive ‘bandage’ maintenance until decades down the road when they can be rebuilt.
I am not getting a new school, why should I vote for this?
This is the first phase of a 30-40 year strategic plan to rebuild and renovate ALL schools in Granite District. Even if your specific neighborhood school is not in the first phase, these funds will also pay for much needed safety and security enhancements such as. The fact that remains that if the bond does not pass, current revenue does not allow for ANY new rebuilds or remodels and ALL projects will be placed on hold.
Didn’t you just raise my taxes?
The capital facility levy has not been increased since the 1999-2000 school year. The District did recently increase the local property tax levy to pay for much needed teacher salary increases. The District’s priority is to provide EVERY Granite District student a high quality teacher in every classroom. Prior to the salary increase, the District had over 300 openings and was losing veteran teachers to other local districts because they had increased their pay significantly. The increase shored up our teaching ranks and ensured that all of the openings were filled for this school year.
Why don’t you pay teachers more money?
Teacher salaries are mostly funded through the legislatively controlled WPU funding mechanism with support from local property taxes. The District does not have any additional taxing authority to increase that levy.
I can’t afford any more taxes.
The Board of Education is sensitive to individuals and families on fixed incomes who will be adversely affected by this increase. Those will low or fixed incomes should inquire with the County Treasurer to check for eligibility for property tax caps/waivers. More information on these programs can be found here – http://slco.org/treasurer/tax-relief-applications/.