Bonneville Joint School District 93 voters may be asked to approve an almost-$40 million bond in May.
Trustees discussed the possibility at a work session last week. While they didn’t make any final decisions, they did say they would likely ask voters to approve a bond in the May 21 election, rather than try for an earlier approval in March. The deadline to get a proposal on the May ballot would be April 1.
The board hasn’t voted on any of this yet, and any of this could change. However, Superintendent Chuck Shackett said the bond could consist of:
n A new 600-student elementary school, costing about $17 million,
n Renovation of the science classrooms at Bonneville and Hillcrest high schools, costing about $10 million per school, and
n Building more special education classrooms, for about $2.5 million.
District 93 trustees have been discussing building a new elementary school and expanding special education space for a while. In January the board opted to ask voters to approve a $35.3 million new middle school and to wait on the rest. Voters in March approved the new middle school, which is being built next to the recently completed Thunder Ridge High School.
If a new bond were to pass in May, the district might be able to put the project out to bid in the summer and open the new elementary school in 2020. If that works out, the district should be able to avoid making any major elementary school boundary changes before opening the new school. However, Shackett said construction costs tend to be higher in the summer, so if the bids come back too high, the district might push off construction, leading to the school being ready to open in 2021 instead.
According to the financial advising firm Piper Jaffray, the district should be able to build this without increasing the tax rate if the district’s value grows by at least 2 percent a year.
“That is extremely conservative,” Shackett said, pointing to last year’s roughly 8 percent increase in property values. “We feel pretty confident that if that’s the project that ends up being, we’ll be able to do that.”
The district has five possible sites for a new elementary school on land it already owns:
• On the west side of South 52nd East, between 1st Street and East 21st South,
• Next to Thunder Ridge and the coming new middle school, although traffic from having so many schools might make it difficult to build here,
• On the west side of South 45th East, near the Cortland Ridge subdivision,
• East of 35th Street East, northeast of the Red Rock subdivision, and
• South of 1st Street, near the Warm Spring Meadows development.
Where the school would be built, Shackett said, will depend on which parts of the district grow the fastest.
“It’s kind of hard to tell because the growth is so rapid,” he said. “We really kind of have to wait.”