Building Referendum 2020

WCA Building Bond Referendum Set for November 3rd

At their regular meeting on August 19, 2020 the West Central Area Schools Board of Education voted to place four questions on the November 3rd General Election Ballot.  The ballot questions will be independent of each other.  None of the four ballot questions are contingent upon the passage of Question #1 or any other ballot question.

Question #1:      Construction of a PK-5 Elementary School in Barrett - $33,825,000

Question #2:      Adding space at the Secondary School site to expand and enhance opportunities in Career and Technical Education, Science / Technology / Engineering / Arts / Math, Media Center, and other updates - $2,330,000

Question #3:      Add space to expand, update and furnish the physical education and fitness space at the Secondary School - $780,000

Question #4:      Construct a Track and Field complex and repair other outdoor grounds and structures - $1,015,000

Total:                 Combined total if all four questions passed - $37,950,000

Holding a Building Bond Referendum on November 3rd was not an easy decision for the WCA Board.  There are continuing concerns related to COVID-19; families are concerned about how the virus will impact the instructional model for WCA students, family health, and how the family may be impacted financially.  Board members have given significant attention to each of these concerns but ultimately decided there are multiple current and long-term advantages that overshadow these factors.        

Board members, community members and staff have discussed health and safety issues and facility inadequacies of the elementary schools for years.  Through their discussions and review of data over the last 13 months, the Board has easily concluded that a construction project is necessary to address facility deficiencies at North Elementary and South Elementary.  The Board also identified updates and additions that will greatly enhance opportunities at the Secondary School.

The Board also recognizes that further delay of construction only increases costs to the District.  First, by only partially addressing urgent needs that are not a long-term solutions.  Secondly, as construction costs consistently rise, future project costs will be impacted by inflation.

The most significant financial advantage for proposing a referendum now is the historically low Bond Interest rate.  According to a chart provided by BakerTilly, the Financial Advisor used by WCA, the rate was over 4% 18 months ago, and has now dropped to near 2%.  In November of 2019, BakerTilly calculated interest for a $38 Million project with a 2.93% interest rate and last week projected the interest for the November 3rd proposal with a rate of 2.07%.  The interest cost projected at 2.07% for the current proposal is over $4 Million less over the 20-year bond period.

Another major financial benefit is the current Agriculture Tax Credit.  The tax credit on agricultural land will increase to 60% in 2022 and to 70% credit in 2023 and thereafter.  Over the life of the Bond, state revenue sources will pay for over 50% of the entire project and interest costs.  This legislation reduces the agricultural tax impact by millions.

A financial consideration the Board has agreed to is a delay in the initial tax collection from 2021 to 2022.  This will alleviate any immediate concern a family may have about the lingering financial stress families may be feeling due to COVID-19.  To provide an initial example of the cost of delaying tax collections, the tax impact is projected to rise from $123 annually to $125 for a residence with a taxable valuation of $100,000.  Due to the increase in the Agriculture Tax Credit, the tax per acre on agricultural land will actually drop because of the delay.

Additional facilities and bond information will be provided regularly in the Grant County Paper and on the WCA Website.  Plans for informational brochures, presentations, and opportunities for community questions are in process.

 

(Referendum – WCA Building Bond Referendum Explanation 8 21 20)