DEL NORTE—Del Norte students and parents are rejoicing this morning with the idea of a new school that is on the horizon for the small town. According to Bond Committee President Mike Hurst and preliminary election results, the ballot issue 3A passed with an 826 to 696 vote. The unofficial results brought a simple response from the committee president, “Our prayers have been answered.”
In the past several months, the school district has done everything in its power to reach out to the voting community in order to educate and promote measure 3A. Through their combined efforts with local organizations like the High Valley Community Center and Del Norte Chamber of Commerce, as well as many other, they were able to rally up enough support for the bond issue and get it passed by 130 votes. The victory will bring about a major change within the community as plans for the new school get underway.
Earlier in the year the Colorado Department of Education awarded a total of $295.6 million state-wide for similar projects and the Del Norte School District received $27 million out of that total. Once the initial planning phase was underway for the new school, district officials knew they needed an additional $18 million in order for their dreams of a new school to be realized. It was in light of this discovery that the bond committee was formed and a push for measure 3A was underway.
During a meeting held at the end of October, the bond committee answered the last lingering questions of the community stating that if the bond did not pass, a neighboring school district in Haydon would receive the BEST funding. Now, fears of this happening can be set aside and school officials can move forward with the next stage of planning. During the same meeting, Superintendent Chris Burr stated that the community will continue to be involved in the process as much as possible.
The school has several letters from local organizations and businesses interested in purchasing the old school buildings, including the Head Start, Del Norte Fire Department and the county. Though the cost for demolishing the buildings had to be included in the proposed grant budget, school officials are hoping that most of the existing structures can be repurposed and repaired through individual funding pursued by specific interested organizations.
The bond will be a 20-year fixed rate which equals 14.79 mill levy which comes out to a $107.85 increase for a home that is valued at an average of $100,000. The increase will bring the Del Norte community up to the average of other comparable communities throughout Colorado. The millage will float based on the assessed value of the county. TABOR restricts the millage rate to 1.4 million throughout the life of the bond based on property values. Payment as a tax payer will not increase and officials continue to hope the rate will be less than the estimate.
The school district also voted to re-elect current School Board President Neal Walters and Bridget Kreutzer for the two open seats on the board of education.
Congratulations, Del Norte!