PUEBLO — Voters in Pueblo County approving a school district bond issue, providing $75,000,000 for upgrades district-wide without raising property taxes.
Ballot Initiative 4A will provide $6,390,000 to infection control and COVID mitigation, security camera replacements, and intercom system upgrades district-wide.
"You're going to see new roofs on most of our buildings. The other big new component will be new parking lots. All of these parking lots are many decades old and any asphalt parking lots have huge holes and cracks," said Todd Seip, Public Information Officer for Pueblo County School District 70.
With the passing of Ballot Initiative 4A, Pleasant View Middle School secures a $3.8 million Building Excellent Schools Today Grant.
"Pleasant View Middle School was targeted as needing the most work with a new roof repair, the structural part of the roof and outside structural parts as well. They were able to able for a BEST Grant from the state and that comes at $3.8 million but it requires a matching grant component as well," said Seip. "And if we hadn't been approved for this bond measure, I don't know where we would have come up with that extra money. We would have left $3.8 million sitting on the table for another school to use."
Pleasant View Middle School will receive the most improvements and funds from the measure. Improvements include new heating and cooling systems, upgrading electrical infrastructure, drainage repair, and solar panel relocation. The estimated cost for all of the improvements is $9,266,231.
With the ballot measure, there won't be an increase in the current tax levy
"Bonds are funded with property taxes, but in this particular case, we do not have to raise the taxes because we have restructured
the bond debt where we don't have to increase the tax. I think the great thing about this is that it will bring that $75,000,000 into this community which will put a lot of people to work which will inject a lot of money into the community and at the same time not increase taxes for the homeowners or businesses," said Ed Smith, Superintendent for Pueblo County School District 70.
The measure was on the ballot last year but failed due to concerns over how the funds would be spent and how much would go to each school. It would have also levied a property tax. For this year's ballot question, the district said they made much-needed changes and made sure the community was informed.
"Letting every school, those families, those communities know exactly how much money will go into their school and how things would be improved. They got to see line by line from the parking lot to the roof to a cracked wall," said Roxy Pignanelli, Pueblo County School District 70. "
Now that the measure is passed, the district says the Citizens Oversight Committee will get to work immediately on a plan to initiate improvements.
"We have an oversight committee that we have put together that will begin to look at bids and look for an overseer of the entire bond. They will be a very good advisor for our board members as far as what we should approve and which contractors we should approve and that sort of thing," said Smith. "They are very prominent people from all over our community and I think our tax payers will have a lot of confidence in these people."
For more information on the projects or appropriation of funds, visit https://4aforbetterschools.com/.