School Board sends $50 million bond package proposal to assembly

Published: Nov. 29, 2017 at 1:36 PM AKST
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A $50 million bond package recently approved by the Anchorage School Board is awaiting consideration by the Assembly to be included in next year’s April ballot.

The money would go toward a number of capital projects to repair and maintain the district’s aging infrastructure. As funding from the state has dried up in recent years, ASD says its had to focus its bond proposals on only the most urgent pressing needs facing the district, such as school roofs which have reached the end of their lifespan.

“This bond proposal really is about sustaining our buildings and also bringing several of our buildings up to existing code,” said ASD chief operating officer Tom Roth.

“On this bond proposal we have five roof projects, one middle school and four elementary schools. That makes up almost $30 million of the $50.65 million that we’re going to ask voters to approve.”

One of those roof projects would be for Homestead Elementary, a school in Eagle River that says its been struggling with a leaking roof for several years. Staff at the school say its suffered water damage in some hallways, classrooms, offices and even the library.

The issue is particularly bad during the spring, and teachers have had to use buckets to collect water dripping from the ceiling. Some have even noticed water coming out of electrical sockets.

According to the school board’s bond proposal, Homestead’s roof needs to be completely replaced, a project estimated to cost about $5.8 million.

If approved in its current form, ASD expects the bond package to result in an increase to property taxes of about $5.44 per every $100,000 of assessed value. According to Roth, the district expects to retire about $56 million in existing debt by the end of the year, which would offset the total impact on taxpayers if the bond package is approved.

The Assembly will likely consider the proposal in the coming weeks, and could put it to a vote in early January. If it clears the Assembly, the bond package would go before Anchorage voters at the regular municipal election on April 3.