Does the School Board have the authority to ask the public to support the issuance of bonds to support school construction?
Yes. State law provides school boards bonding authority. Utah Code 53G-4-602 Utah Code 53G-4-603 2.
Why do school boards run bond elections?
Bond elections are widely regarded as the only way to generate enough funding to address capital needs such as schools. Saving in advance from property tax levies takes funds from taxpayers before it is needed.
What will the bond proceeds be used for?
The proceeds from a November 2020 bond election will be used for a partial rebuild of Timpview HS.
Why rebuild schools?
“Although increasing rapidly in cost, land is still one of the least expensive education resources provided for schools. The quantity of land needed for a school facility will vary according to specific local needs, such as the number and ages of pupils, the type of building to be constructed, and the multiple uses of the site for such things as community recreational functions. The size of a school site also depends on the shape, contour, general suitability, and availability of land in the area where the building is to be located. If transportation is readily available, the size of a site is more important than location. Inadequate site size is a major factor in the obsolescence of educational facilities.” – Utah State Board of Education
Can’t the district simply save up enough money so bonding is not needed?
Districts have a limit as to how much they can retain in fund balances (savings) over time. It is extremely rare, especially in today’s construction climate, where prices are climbing, that a district could save enough money to pay for a school rebuild., let alone more than one. Additionally, there is the question of whether taxpayers should pay taxes in advance to have districts bank the money, or if the money is intended to be spent on students.
What is the tax impact of the proposed bond?
The estimated tax impact to the average home in Provo is $70/year or $5.83/month. The average home is determined by Utah County based on assessed tax values, and is currently $317,000. Utah Code 59-2-919 also requires the school district use this average assessed value when presenting tax impact to businesses. The tax impact to a business with property tax value of $317,000 is estimated at $128/year or $10.66/month.
Is the school district allowed to discuss bonds or the bond election on district websites or using district resources?
Bonds are part of district operations. Districts and Boards can discuss bonds from an operational standpoint, including the process of running bond elections. Districts are permitted to share information about bonds, both within the district and with the general public. Districts may not use district resources to campaign for the passage of a bond resolution.
How does the school Board/district manage opposition to a bond?
The board realizes that there will be those who support and the bond and others who may oppose. The Board is committed and obligated to rely on truthful, accurate information in all areas of decision-making, including decisions and communications about bonding. Where the public has drawn conclusions that are inaccurate, the Board will strive to communicate the facts. If an individual perpetuates misinformation, the district has the option of invoking Utah Code 20A-11-1103 “False statements in relation to candidates forbidden.”
Who manages the campaign of a district’s bond initiatives?
Campaigning for a bond is a promotional activity of a political issue. Districts are not permitted to organize or run campaigns. Campaigns are run separate from the district, usually by an external political issues committee. Individuals within the district are permitted to take part in such campaigns, as long as there is separation of their individual time/support from district time and resources.
I am on a fixed income and am concerned about increased taxes as part of this bond. What are my options?
State law provides some tax relief for individuals/families who qualify. See Utah Pub 36
I’ve heard businesses are leaving Provo because of high taxes. Does this worry you?
The Board recognizes the heavy responsibility of increasing taxes to families and businesses. We have not received or found data to support the claim that businesses are leaving Provo because of taxes. In fact, in recent years, several national organizations and publications have cited Provo as a desirable location in which to live and do business, citing business-friendly taxes and a friendly regulatory climate. Further, recent calculations show that Provo City School District taxation levels are at or below the neighboring districts. Provo City reports an active and growing business environment.
Does the city pay for the sidewalks, sewer, storm water management, etc. associated with the construction of a new school?
The school district (bond funds) cover expenses for on-site improvements of this nature. The city does not cover them. From time to time, the city may require the district to cover additional improvements that assist an issue in a given neighborhood. An example is the district and city working together for a larger “fire flow” line adjacent to Rock Canyon Elementary. Short answer: the district pays for all such improvements on site, and may even contribute to some related off-site improvements.
What is the current condition of Timpview?
The Board has sought input from various building experts to understand the needs at Timpview. The conclusion of this study is that Timpview is in a condition of continued deterioration. The proposed bond is to ensure that existing deterioration does not proceed to a point where it is condemned. We would never send students to a school building that poses a serious risk to students’ health and safety and seek to mitigate the problems soon.
Clarify the credibility and number of engineering firms that are reporting serious problems with Timpview and recommending remediation/rebuilding?
The district worked with eight, well-regarded architect/engineering firms, in addition to the state’s Risk Management agency, and other advisors. All consultants have reported the same concerns with the current building and have recommended similar remedies.