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$92 million bond for new high school draws concern

By Emily Valla
Published On: Feb 25 2014 09:48:46 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 25 2014 09:49:53 PM CST

$92 million dollar bond for new high school draws concern

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho -

In two weeks, voters will decide on a $92 million bond for a new high school and new middle school in Bonneville School District 93. A group urging others to "vote no" said the bond is too much, too long, too vague, and raises traffic concerns.

"It's not $92 million. It's $204 million," said Randy Trane, spokesman for a group opposed to the bond.

D93 has proposed a 30 year bond that would go to building a new high school, a new middle school, and several other district improvements. Opponents point out that with interest, the $92 million over three decades comes closer to a quarter billion.

"Fifty-five percent of that goes towards interest. So only 45 percent of what they are spending is going to construction cost," said Trane.

The district said it is not unlike buying a home on a much larger scale.

"When I purchased my home and I got the mortgage on it, I put 20 percent down on it, but the interest as I finance it over 30 years costs more than the loan I was getting. Unfortunately that's just how interest works," said Scott Woolstenhulme, director of school improvement for District 93.

More than half of the bond would go to a new high school. Some have compared it to the lower price tags of the new Madison and Rigby high schools.

"Because it's a third high school, we are going to have to furnish that school. If you look at Rigby and Madison, they were building a new school, but they were moving their old school into it. That's not the situation here," said Woolstenhulme.

The remaining money would be for a new middle school and other district improvements.

"We've also built in several million dollars as a contingency if construction costs go up or if there is road construction that needs to happen to get into the school," Woolstenhulme said.

That number of entries to the school is a concern for opponents.

"They are planning to put a football field here. They could have as many as 1,500 cars coming in and right now they have one entrance," said Trane.

District 93 is looking at trading land to create another entrance.

"If there is a difference in cost to the district besides a straight across trade, those funds would come from previous monies we had from a bond set aside for future property purchases," said Roger Hill, director of plant facilities for District 93.

The District has owned the 80 acres the school would sit on since 2009.

The District said it will provide a breakdown of projects on its website by the end of the week. There is an open forum Wednesday and Thursday nights from 4 to 8 p.m. at the District office.

D93 Bond FAQs: http://www.d93schools.org/pages/Bonneville/Community/Successful_Future_FAQs

Vote No on D93 Bond website: http://votenod93bond.com


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