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Durango School District 9-R explores bond election

Money would go for security upgrades, building maintenance
Durango School District 9-R is exploring seeking $75 million to $85 million in new bonds to improve school security, maintenance of schools and to pay for a backlog of maintenance needs.

Durango School District 9-R is examining a request for bond issuance of $75 million to $85 million to improve school security, to maintain aging schools and to deal with a backlog of maintenance needs at schools, but new bonds might not require a mill levy increase.

Deputy Superintendent Andy Burns said the district spends about $1 million on building maintenance, but according to Colorado Department of Education recommendations, the district’s budget for maintenance should be about $6 million given the total 9-R building inventory.

Burns

“We are falling further and further behind in maintenance and renovations of buildings,” Burns told the Board of Education this week.

Burns said increasing the maintenance budget to $2 million or $3 million, while not meeting CDE recommendations, would make a “significant dent” in the maintenance backlog.

Dan O’Connell of RBC Capital Markets, a bond underwriting firm and financial advising firm, told board members that payment of previous bonds should allow the district to issue about $75 million in bonds without increasing the mill levy.

Issuing bonds for $85 million would require a slight increase in the mill levy, he said. He estimated it would be an increase of about 80 cents per month for the owner of a $400,000 home in the school district.

O’Connell also said general elections tend to be more favorable for school district bond issuance requests than odd-year elections or midterm elections, which have a higher percentage of retired voters with no children in schools.

Burns said the district is in a position to wait until the 2020 election to go to voters.

parmijo@durangoherald.com

Sep 26, 2021
Durango School District considers mill levy request
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