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Tue, Nov. 12

PUSD posts notice for November election: Bond, override, building sales on ballot

PRESCOTT - Prescott Unified School District this week posted its official notice of special election, giving voters the details on a bond and override school officials are seeking for the Nov. 3 general election. Also on the ballot, the district is asking voters to authorize the sale, lease or exchange of the Miller Valley and Washington schools.

The first two questions are a combined package proposed by school officials: a $15 million, 14-year general obligation bond and an override of $6 million spread over seven years.

Listed in the proposal, the school district's proposed uses for the $15 million bond include building construction and renovation; school buses; land purchase and leases; improvements to school grounds; and furniture, equipment and technology, along with the associated costs for design and planning, and debt service.

PUSD Chief Financial Officer Kevin Dickerson said that list includes some items not listed in its capital spending plan for the life of the bond, notably building construction and land purchases or leases.

He said the items were included to allow the district flexibility. If needs change, he said, the school board will have the ability to change how it allocates the revenue from bond sales.

The bond will be retired after 14 years and the interest rate for the bonds is capped at 12 percent, though the actual rate, determined by the bond market at the time of sale, is anticipated to be much lower.

The cost of the bond to property taxpayers is estimated at 17.41 cents per $100 of net assessed valuation for secondary property tax purposes, beginning in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Voters last approved a general obligation bond in 2004. That bond expires at the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year, with voters paying 28 cents per $100 of net assessed valuation.

The second question, the budget override, would allow the district to surpass the state-mandated formula for its general operations and maintenance budget by 4.66 percent for five years. The override would drop to 3.11 percent and 1.55 percent in the sixth and seventh years.

School officials estimate the override, if approved by voters, will add $1 million to the district's budget for the first five years, $666,667 in the sixth year and $333,333 in the seventh year.

The estimated cost of the override is 13.14 cents per $100 of net assessed valuation for secondary property tax purposes.

The other two questions relate to the sale, lease or exchange of two school buildings. The district posed similar questions some years ago for two other buildings it still owns: Dexter school and the district offices.

If voters approve the two ballot questions, Miller Valley and Washington schools would be added to the list.

Should the district then choose to sell the buildings, it must receive at least the appraised market value of the properties, and the funds can only be used to "construct, improve and furnish school buildings."

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 5. Ballots will be mailed between Oct. 8 and Oct 19.

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-9503.

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