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BCSD Facilities Committee recommends bond levy

by EMILY BONSANT
Hagadone News Network | January 6, 2022 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — The Boundary County School District's Facilities Committee is drafting a series of infrastructure and improvement projects across the district for a proposed bond levy of $16.4 million for the March election.

On March 8, the Boundary County School District No. 101 Bond will be on the ballot. The bond will fund the following:

• Build a new Valley View Elementary School;

• Shop addition at BFHS, shop renovation at BCMS, and bleachers/athletic improvements for both;

• Traffic flow and paving at Naples Elementary;

• New roof and completion of plumbing project at Mount Hall Elementary; and

• Repair, renovate, and remodel all buildings based on recommendation of committee and as needed.

“Each school benefits from the bond passing,” Pease said. “Our community benefits, too, because the new building and improvements will enable our district to host large extra/co-curricular activities and/or tournaments that will bring in revenue.”

“It is important to the facility committee to let community members know we are doing our best to maximize the use of our federal funds and work cooperatively with other governmental agencies to reduce the tax burden locally,” said Chris Pease, facilities committee spokesman.

The school district formed the committee last January as part of an effort to collaborate on a 10-year facilities plan.

Members of the committee are Merle Ansley, Gary Aitken Jr., Cal Bateman, Kristie Campbell, Mark Carey, Ryan Comer, Clark Fairchild, Wesley Hubbard, Chris Pease, Bob Overman, Teresa Rae, Tony Rohrwasser, Ron Smith and Anne Tompkins.

“No decisions or recommendations were made without careful consideration and the impact on our community,” Pease said.

The committee identified four goals as part of its work over the past year, including an effort to seek public input on what direction to go with district facilities, and an effort to provide the best facilities within the district’s fiscal capacity. The committee will make recommendations to the school board for facilities; and support the larger community as a whole when making recommendations to the board.

The committee was formed in January 2020 and since then has examined funds and expense that include 2009 to present forest funds, 2002-2019 state funding, facility expenses since 2015 and utility summaries since 2014.

In February and March 2020, the committee toured the district’s schools. Although they looked well on the surface upon inspection, the facilities proved the contrary.

After the building tours, the committee identified several needs that cannot be met solely by the maintenance budget, Pease said.

In April until September 2020, the committee reviewed their options based on current tax base and facilities’ needs. As well as facility assessments, building code evaluation, a facilities study annual review, current data, such as funding enrollment, staffing, building requests and bonding options.

Sept. 14, 2020, the facility committee recommended a 10-year facilities play that included running a $18 million bond. Since October 2020 facilities maintenance has been completed based on a 10-year facilities plan.

The committee recommended to the Boundary County School Board to run an $18 million bond. Since the original recommendation, COVID-19 occurred and the district received ESSR (federal funds) and has now reduced the bond to $16.4 million. In addition, the bond for Bonners Ferry High School is paid off.

The district and the facilities committee believed strongly in using some of the federal funds to complete major projects to improve the safety and health of BCSD buildings, while reducing the local tax burden, Pease said.

As a result of the ESSR funds, several projects were moved from the proposed bond to using the new funds. These projects included; the four-room addition at Naples Elementary School to remove old modules; air conditioning unit and boilers at Bonners Ferry High School; partial plumbing project and fire control panels at Mount Hall Elementary and HVAC improvements at Boundary County Middle School.

“We all agreed to not throw good money into facilities that need too many repairs or updates to warrant the expenditures,” Pease said. “In the end, the committee feels they have designed and proposed a positive balance between the maintenance budget and a bond proposal.

“We have also worked with the county to submit an application to make the pedestrian and paving improvements at Naples Elementary. We will continue to work diligently to be responsible stewards of precious tax dollars.”

The committee worked diligently to suggest a bond and maintenance list to maximize the use of our funds, be fiscally responsible to our community, maintain our facilities, and create safe and healthy learning environments for our students and staff, Pease said. The committee is eager to continue their work by supporting the recommendations.

“We are excited for the March election. We are more than happy to present information to your community group, small group meetings in homes, and in large groups,” Pease said.

More information on the proposed bond can be found at https://www.bcsd101.com/.

Please call Superintendent Jan Bayer, at 208-267-3146 or email her at jan.bayer@mail.bcsd101.com if you have any questions, want to schedule a meeting, and/or want to tour our facilities.

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