ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF THE $47.5M MILLARD SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND
The Millard School District Board of Education is asking voters to approve the issuance of $47,500,000 in General Obligation Bonds on November 21, 2023.
Millard County is a great place to live, and people continue to choose to move here. Between 2018 and 2023, the Millard School District grew by 9 percent, making it the sixth fastest growing school district in Utah. As the student population increases, the demand for facilities also increases.
Fillmore Elementary School is nearing capacity. Millard High School has also run out of space to accommodate future growth. Additionally, its main administrative and classroom space has far exceeded its useful life and creates a difficult learning environment for students. The electrical wiring and plumbing are outdated, the hallways are narrow, the building does not have sufficient administrative or faculty space, and some programs are occupying space not designed for modern needs.
We have carefully considered how to meet the needs of students within the District. Through a collaborative review and approval process, including negotiated adjustments to bring projected costs to acceptable levels, the Board voted unanimously to approve this bond initiative. With voter approval the bond will pay for the following:
- Millard High School – The oldest portion of Millard High School will be replaced with a state-of-the-art academic facility. The gymnasium, auditorium, technical building, and newer classrooms will be retained, with the technical building and lunchroom undergoing renovations to better accommodate future needs.
- Fillmore Elementary School – Particularly rapid growth at this school – an increase of 73 students from 2020 to 2023 – has necessitated the proposal of a multi-classroom addition that will alleviate current crowding and allow for significant growth in the future.
- Delta Technical Center – A small addition for an automotive shop is planned.
Inflation is driving up construction costs, which have increased by 47 percent since 2019. Given current needs and inflation levels, the District has neither the time nor the ability to save money quickly enough to pay cash for these projects. The District believes financing these projects using general obligation bonds is the most cost-effective method, which is projected to save the District $4.5 million versus lease revenue bonds.
The District continues to balance the demands of growth with the need to minimize the impact on our residents. Given the expectations for valuation growth over the next several years, and legacy bonds that have matured, the District expects to meet new bond payment obligations using the resulting increase in available capital revenue, rather than through an increase in tax levy.
The Millard School District is focused on its constitutional, supporting role, to assist and to be accountable to parents and families who bear the primary responsibility for educating their children. We ask for your help in providing adequate facilities for our District to fulfill our appropriate educational obligations, by voting in favor of this General Obligation Bond on November 21, 2023.
SUBMITTED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF MILLARD SCHOOL DISTRICT, UTAH
(No Opposing Argument was Submitted)
The District shall conduct a public meeting on October 12, 2023, beginning at the hour of 6:00 p.m. at 285 East 450 North, Delta, Utah. The purpose of the meeting is to hear arguments for and against the issuance of the Bonds.
Posted: September 25, 2023
Public Meeting Notice for Thursday, October 12, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. All are invited to attend.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Bonding Act, Title 11, Chapter 14, Utah Code Annotated 1953, as amended, that on July 13, 2023, the Board of Education (the “Board”) of Millard School District, Utah (the “District”), adopted a resolution (the “Resolution”) in which it authorized the calling of an election (the “Election”) concerning a proposition for the issuance of the District’s General Obligation Bonds (the “Bonds”) and called a public hearing to receive input from the public with respect to (a) the issuance of the Bonds and (b) any potential economic impact that the improvements, facilities or properties financed in whole or in part with the proceeds of the Bonds (see below) may have on the private sector.
TIME, PLACE, AND LOCATION OF PUBLIC HEARING
The Board shall hold a public hearing on October 12, 2023, at the hour of 6:00 p.m. in the District offices, located at 285 East 450 North, Delta, Utah. All members of the public are invited to attend and participate.
PURPOSE FOR ISSUING THE BONDS, MAXIMUM AMOUNT AND SECURITY
The Bonds are to be issued in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $47,500,000 for the purpose of financing all or a portion of the costs of constructing, furnishing and equipping new school facilities and improving existing facilities and paying costs of issuance of the Bonds. The Bonds shall be secured by ad valorem property taxes of the District to the extent authorized by law.
The Bonds may be issued in one or more series and be sold from time to time, all as the Board may determine.
DATED this July 13, 2023.
/s/ Corey Holyoak
Posted: September 22, 2023
Bond Election Explanation by Millard School District
March 10, 2023 – You have now seen two articles pertaining to possible building projects within the school district. We appreciate that the Chronicle-Progress has helped with the launching of these discussions. We have been considering the projects that we might propose over the course of several years. These projects are prompted fundamentally by the need for additional space and enhanced learning facilities, but have been of concern for some time. The two projects that we consider essential at this time are Fillmore Elementary School and Millard High School.
In a time of student population growth in our county, which we anticipate will only expand in coming years, these facilities are out of space. Fillmore Elementary, which has grown by 57 students in the past two years, will give up their last possible classroom space, their faculty room, as soon as there is an additional classroom needed at any grade level. We will propose an 8-10 classroom addition on this building to accommodate the growth of the coming years. This would provide space that if necessitated, could house the fifth grade for a period of time until we could also afford to expand the Fillmore Middle School. The projected cost of this construction would be between 5 and 7 million dollars. This would allow us to keep class sizes down and provide room for interventions and learning enhancements over the years as we fill the building with our growth.
It has been twelve years since we last proposed to rebuild the Millard High School academic building through the bonding process. The estimated cost to replace Millard High at that time was 14.8 million dollars. The square foot cost was about $150. When the bond was rejected, we were unable to make our funds extend to the entire reconstruction of Millard High, but used our Capitol Revenue to finance the new auxiliary gymnasium and a four classroom addition to help us with overcrowding. Millard High is again at capacity, and is not a building that is conducive to the use of technology, or learning in general. We are proposing to replace this portion of the Millard High complex. This replacement is now estimated at approximately $40 million, with a per square foot cost of over $400.
The capital revenues that we used to pay for the addition at Millard High and the replacement of the Delta High academic building are becoming available to us again. We made our final payment on one of the two lease revenue bonds in January, freeing up approximately 1.25 million per year. The second, much smaller bond, will be paid off in 2031 which will free an additional $574,000 per year. It is our intention to entirely fund these projects by using these funds, without asking our taxpayer to shoulder any rate increase. With a 35-year general obligation bond, we believe we can accomplish this. We will ask for the public’s support of a general obligation bond because it allows us to get the most favorable interest rate over a period of time that assists us in the payment, but again, the bond will be paid with current funds, rolling the lease revenue funds into the proposed general obligation bond. Without voter support for a general obligation bond, the board could choose to move forward with these projects by again using lease revenue bonds. This is not the preferred course, because the fees, rates, and periods on these bonds would require an additional $4 million over the period of the bond. It is for this reason we anticipate asking the public to support a general obligation in the amount of 50-55 million in November. This is the amount we feel the district can carry without rate increases from our taxpayers.
This proposal seems very practical to the Board of Education at this time. We recognize that some may suggest we wait until we can set aside some funds, but with the inflation rate far outpacing the interest rate on savings, we fall behind in an attempt to save. It is better for us to build the buildings that we need now and to pay for them with the potentially inflated funds of the coming years. We also anticipate that the growth of our tax base in the coming years will allow us to fund additional projects that may be needed, without an increase in our tax rate.
We invite your input! Please visit with your board members, your administrators, or email us with your questions, concerns, or suggestions! We plan to hold future public meetings in Delta, Fillmore, and EskDale, in addition to your opportunity to participate in our monthly board meetings.