The Luther schools bond election is coming soon. Voters will decide January 8, 2019, on a $24 million bond issue for several projects including safe rooms, a cafeteria and a new high school gym.
BWA Architects produced a video on behalf of the district. The video in support of the bond features parents, former Superintendent Bruce Wilson, former Coach Marcellus Fields and current Superintendent Barry Gunn.
“The quality of a child’s education shouldn’t be dependent on where they live,” said Gunn in the video.
As for the tax increases, Gunn said the financial consultants, Stephen H McDonald & Associates, kept the number below ten percent of assessed value. That amounts to about a $100 a year increase in property taxes for those who own property.
Charles DeFuria, former school board member, points out that the tax increase is not a one-time cost, but will continue and be added to other ongoing bonds until the projects are paid off over the next 25 years. He also said the millage rate could vary.
“Each year they have to issue another $955,000 bond in the series and accept whichever investor gives them the best interest rate. If interest rates go up, the millage will go up to cover the interest,” said DeFuria who also notes there will be increased costs for the projects including staff to help maintain them.
“Another aspect is the increase in their property liability insurance rate with the addition of new buildings. Their utility bills and maintenance costs will also rise and they are not allowed by law to use bond money to pay for those expenses,” said DeFuria.
Luther school district voters defeated the last bond issue in 2015. Supt. Gunn indicated that safeguards are in place to steward the bond funds for these projects that are on the ballot in January.
“We are a thriving and moving forward community, and we need the upgrade,” said Coach Fields.