Election Watch: Academy D20 bond asks for $230 million for capital improvements
COLORADO SPRINGS -
Academy School District 20 is asking voters to take out $230 million dollars in new debt for capital improvements including three new schools and a learning and innovation center.
D20 has grown by 7,000 students since 2001, the last time voters approved a bond question. "Our schools are at capacity," said Allison Cortez, spokesperson for the district. "A lot of those schools you'll drive by and see what we call portables, they look like big brown trailers outside."
Question 3A asks to extend the same tax rate, about $50 dollars per year for a $200,000 dollar house, to take on $230 million dollars in new debt.
The district has also lost nearly $150 million in state funding over the past 17 years diminishing the general fund.
If passed, the money would build two new elementary schools, a middle school and a center for innovative learning. It would also be used to make additions to and remodel schools.
In addition, every school would get a percentage of the $230 million based on enrollment and the age of the building.
"The district is 60 years old right now," said District 20 parent Will Temby. "With all the growth going on in the northern and eastern part of the district, a lot of people don't think the district is that old."
A growth and capital needs committee has worked for the past year to identify needs in the district. "They looked at what was working, where they had holes in the ceiling, where they had outdated equipment," said Cortez. "They also had a community forum and they took all of that information together and said these are the things that absolutely have to happen so students have a solid learning environment."
According to an opposition statement listed in the voter's guide, some believe the district's list of needs are really wants. The con position statement says more basic needs should be met before money is spent on the so-called wants of the district.
Other parents trust the district will be good stewards of the money, and believe a strong school district is important to the community.
"They're great for economic development," said Temby. "They're great for your property value, and most importantly they're great for outcomes. If you've got great outcomes from your school district, and I believe District 20 does a good job there, that's the future workforce for this community and other communities."
The money from the bond would also be used to update technology infrastructure and other capital improvements. Click here for more information and a list of projects to be completed if 3A passes.