December 7, 2021
Dear Parents and School Community Members,
In our ongoing effort to ensure our community is well informed for the December 14 referendum vote, I am writing to share information on the purpose and significance of the proposed projects.
First and foremost, with this referendum, the district is addressing comprehensive infrastructural needs to ensure a safe, healthy physical learning environment for our students. The projects address wide-ranging district issues created by outdated heating and cooling systems, old building roofs, inadequate electrical and technology infrastructure, and interior upgrades.
Much of the interior upgrades at Bayberry include replacing classroom casework, flooring, and bathrooms that are original to the school, dating back to the 1960s. At Valley View, similar upgrades are necessary, but we also have reimagined instructional spaces, intentionally aligning them with our district vision for learning. Transforming a worn library/media center into a 21st-century learning commons that becomes the hub of the school is an exciting project that will inspire student inquiry, agency, and collaboration. An extension of the learning commons to an outdoor courtyard and a revamped art room will complement the new space and our existing STEM lab, promoting design thinking and creative problem solving.
Perhaps most importantly, the state has committed to pay roughly one third of the total costs, but only if the referendum passes. Specifically, the state has deemed 96% of the projects eligible for debt-service aid, which would result in the district receiving $4,885,617 in state funds to defray the costs of the projects that total $14,978,371. The annual tax impact would be $267 per year on the average assessed home of $730,568. As pointed out by the Echoes-Sentinel in its endorsement of the referendum last week, this is a way for the community to see some of its tax revenue “return home and be used for worthy educational purposes.”
If the referendum does not pass, the district will be forced to complete many of the infrastructure projects without the state aid and abandon the enhanced instructional spaces for our students. At the same time, the work would be extended over a much longer timeframe, and the district would run the risk of infrastructure failure. If an HVAC unit, for example, fails suddenly, it could cause a school closure, and replacing it could take 6-8 months.
For a summary of highlights, I am sharing a digital flier and an informational video. For more detailed information including a projects list, facilities assessment, tax impact table, and frequently asked questions, please visit our Referendum 2021 webpage on the district website.
Please remember to vote next Tuesday, December 14. The polling location is the Firemen’s Exempt Hall at 31 Mountain Boulevard. The polls will be open from 6:00 am - 8:00 pm.
Thank you for your attention to this important decision affecting the future of our schools.
Very Truly Yours,