#BuildD60 Bond Improvement Program
What is the #BuildD60 Bond Improvement Program?
In November 2019, Pueblo voters approved a $218 million bond to upgrade infrastructure or construct new buildings at 13 schools in Pueblo School District 60. The major expenditure of the Bond Improvement Program is new construction for East and Centennial high schools, which will cost an estimated $75.7 million apiece. The remaining funds will go toward infrastructural or safety upgrades at schools, such as HVAC and electrical systems.
The schools targeted for new constructions or upgrades relied upon the District 60 Facilities Master Plan, a detailed analysis of the infrastructural and financial status of District 60. The Facilities Master Plan was the impetus for the Board of Education seeking a bond measure.
What it means to taxpayers
As a result of the passage of the bond question in 2019, the $218 million bond translates to an extra $78.27 in residential property taxes annually per $100,000 of assessed valuation. For commercial properties, every $100,000 of assessed value would result in an extra $315 in taxes annually.
With the duration of the bond extending 20 years, the total repayment cost, which includes interest, is $359.5 million. The bond is repaid at an all-in true interest cost of 2.41%.
More 'bang for their buck' for taxpayers
Several factors have resulted in the #BuildD60 Bond Program having additional dollars in the budget:
- Because of the bulk of bonds sold, the annual bond payment paid by District 60 will only be $17.5 million, a total savings of $33.6 million to taxpayers throughout the bond’s 20-year lifetime.
- In June 2020, District 60 was awarded two Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grants, which allows for a replacement of Franklin School of Innovation and Sunset Park Elementary. The BEST grant application process requires "matching funds" in order to apply, and about $6.2 million (about $12.4 million total) was set aside from the $218 million bond funds for that purpose. The BEST grant award resulted in an additional $16.14 million for the Franklin replacement, and $15.95 million for the Sunset Park replacement – a total of $32.09 million in tax-free funds that do not need to repaid.
Community monitoring and engagement
As part of the voter-approved #BuildD60 Bond Improvement Program, language was included to create a Citizens' Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) to monitor how the bond funds are being spent. The CBAC is tasked with reporting to the Board of Education quarterly.
Additionally, District 60 is maintaining a repository of information and developing blog posts/articles to inform the public at large about the project(s).
As it pertains to the new construction of Centennial and East, a Design Advisory Group (DAG) to provide input to project architects during the design process of both schools.
More about the #BuildD60 Bond Improvement Program
With great respect to the vibrant traditions that characterize these two schools – as well as alumni’s desire to see that history preserved – great care was taken during the design process to ensure the new buildings would have ample space in which to showcase those elements that currently line the walls and fill displays in the current schools’ hallways and gymnasiums.
This 7- to 9-member Committee serves in an advisory capacity, monitoring the expenditure of funds approved by taxpayers through the 2019 bond and then reporting the findings to the D60 Board of Education. This critical service of ensuring that the funds are being spent as directed by the bond ballot language is intended to provide a high level of accountability to the citizen taxpayers of the District.