To bond or not to bond, that is the question. The answer was a unanimous yes from the committee tasked earlier this spring to explore the possibility of placing a school bond on the November ballot.
The committee, comprised of local parents, business owners, and service organization leaders, will present its decision to the Chino Valley Unified School District governing board for recommendation on June 20.
After weeks of discussion and a 300-person telephone survey conducted by Paul Ulan of Primary Consultants, LLC, the committee held its final preliminary meeting on June 11.
During this meeting, Ulan presented the results of his survey. One of the most important results showed that 61 percent of those contacted said they would vote in favor of a $10 million bond.
"It's important to recognize a couple of things. One, there is a perception in every district that people don't want to pay," said Ulan. "Number two is that we need to be up front and transparent in everything we present. The more information we have and we can present, the better."
Ulan reminded the committee that a bond designed to help finance the district is not a "one size fits all" project.
"We need to find out what the people care about. That goes a long way," said Ulan.
Of the needs the committee wants to bring to public attention, safety, security, and transportation were high on the list.
On the security side, new locks, fencing, and security cameras are expected to cost the district nearly half a million dollars, and a new fleet of 15 buses to replace the aging current fleet that is draining district resources in repair costs.
The committee reviewed four bond options, ranging from about $10 million to just less than $12 million. The district's current bond, which is about to expire, has a tax rate of about $73 on a $100,000 home.
If the the board accepts and approves the new $10 million bond in November, taxpayers will see their rate drop from $73 to about $40 on a $100,000 home.
Additional items the committee will present as benefits from the bond will be a redesigned performing arts facility, repairs to the track, a new athletic center with field houses, and two new wells at territorial Elementary and the high school.
Another project the committee hopes to pay for with the new bond would be an advanced technology center, allowing students to link in with college prep classes via the Internet.
Schools currently using these advanced learning centers are finding themselves ranked the highest in the nation, said committee member John Morgan, dean of career and technical education at Yavapai College.
"If we're trying to put Chino Valley up there, here's your chance," said Morgan. "Why don't we dedicate a classroom, make it as high tech as you can possibly get it, and pipe in classes from places like Duke and Harvard for our students right here?"
John Scholl, support services director for the district, said that with the current technological infrastructure, the CVUSD could put such a program into place well within the new bond proposal.
The committee will present its recommendation to the board during the June 20 meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. in the district boardroom, 650 East Center Street.