By Dr. Cort Monroe, Superintendent of Cave Creek Unified School District
Did you know that on the November 2 ballot there will be an election for a $40 million dollar Capital Bond for the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD)? I would like to answer some questions to help educate local voters in order for them to have the facts surrounding their upcoming vote.
Why has Cave Creek Unified called for a bond election?
The Cave Creek Unified School District educates approximately 5,200 students with a 97% high school graduation rate. CCUSD has seven campuses, one million square feet of buildings, and 236 acres of land. The district has not passed a bond election since 2014. This bond would provide needed funds to upgrade technology for students and classrooms, refresh school facilities, purchase 21st century furniture and equipment, make sports facility improvements, purchase school buses, and make repairs and renovations intended to maintain a safe student environment that is conducive to learning.
What is a bond?
Education or general obligation (Class B) bonds are voter-approved funds used to purchase technology, school buses, school safety and security, athletic infrastructure, and school facilities improvements. Districts collect this money by taxing property owners on the assessed value of their properties. Residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties all pay taxes. Districts sell the bond to investors. Selling bonds are similar to a loan, much like a home equity line of credit, but for a school district. Districts must maintain their facilities and the School Facilities Board does not cover expenses for technology, athletic improvements, transportation, or several other maintenance items on schools. A school district cannot pay salaries or benefits for district employees from bond funds.
How much is the bond and how will the funds be used?
The bond is $40 million. The district will use money generated by the sale of bonds to purchase instructional technology and STEM learning materials, address school safety and security upgrades, repair and renovate school buildings, provide furniture and equipment for collaborative 21st century learning spaces in schools/classrooms, purchase school buses, upgrade athletic facilities, and pay off energy contract debt.
What school sites will benefit from passage of a new bond?
All seven CCUSD school sites will benefit from the passage of the new bond.
What will be the cost to homeowners if the bond passes?
The average assessed value of homes in the district is $557,880. The cost for the average homeowner would be approximately $94 per year or about $8 per month.
How many years of capital improvements will this special bond election fund?
Currently, the bond is estimated to serve district capital needs until 2028-2030.
What is the budget for the bond?
• Technology improvements, including student and teacher laptops, hardware, software, and copiers: $4.75 million
• Student transportation vehicles (buses): $3.8 million
• Student furniture and equipment: $4 million
• Construct, remodel, and improve school facilities, buildings and grounds, (includes safety and security upgrades): $27,278,000
• Construct, remodel, and improve school facilities, buildings (including carpet) and grounds: $172,000
How will the bond help the maintenance and operation budget?
The bond will pay off $10.8 million in debt for previous energy saving projects with bond funds to return approximately $800,000 back to the maintenance and operation budget each year.
When is the election?
This will be an all mail in ballot election for all residents who live within the CCUSD boundaries. Ballots will arrive in mailboxes in early to mid-October.