Funds from Re-2 bond, mill levy would hire teachers, build, renovate schools
RIFLE – Garfield School District Re-2 has bond and mill levy override issues on the November ballot that they say are a good deal for taxpayers. Due to the increased assessed valuation of the district of $1.222 billion – in large part in the oil and gas industry – the requested bond and mill levy override will not require a tax rate increase for the district’s residents.November ballot issue 3A, a $1.6 million mill levy override, would increase the annual budget for the district. The additional funds will be for new qualified teachers and staff, and to help cover increasing utilities and fuel costs throughout the district. The funds for the mill levy override are not to be used for construction costs or to pay back past bonds.Ballot issue 3B, a $74.9 million bond, will pay for a number of districtwide renovations to schools that have safety issues, and to ensure that the district continues to meet the demands of an ever-growing student population.”The funds from the bond will allow us to address safety and growth issues currently seen throughout the district,” said Re-2 School Board President Jay Rickstrew.Districtwide renovations will include a replacement building for deteriorating Roy Moore Elementary in Silt, a new elementary school in Rifle, and a new middle school in New Castle. Major renovations are planned for Rifle High School and Riverside Elementary School in New Castle. Coal Ridge High School and Rifle Middle School will get classroom additions, and mechanical upgrades are planned for Wamsley Elementary in Rifle. Furnishings and equipment for the aforementioned facilities as well as improvements to the district’s existing transportation facility in Rifle are included, too.”We’re trying to keep up with the growth of the area,” Rickstrew said. “We don’t want to keep bringing in more modular classrooms to accommodate the growing student population.””The reasons for this bond is all about safety, classroom capacity, and classroom size,” said Theresa Hamilton, director of districtwide services for Re-2.The school board calculated very closely the assessed valuation of the district and made a point to ask for precisely the amount that would not require a tax increase. On Sept. 8, Garfield County Assessor Shannon Hurst verified the valuation at $1.222 billion, extremely close to the amount the school board used in their calculations.At a Sept. 12 school board meeting Garfield School District Re-2 Superintendent Dr. Gary Pack said, “Our estimates were right on.”A point that school board members have emphasized since this ballot issue was announced is that the 2006 bond and mill levy override will not increase taxes.Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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