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BV board sets date for intermediate school vote
District patrons to go to polls Dec. 3
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

October 25. 2013 9:32AM
Brandon Valley School District voters will be going to the polls Dec. 3 to decide the future of a proposed intermediate school tagged at $12 million.

The Brandon Valley Board of Education was unanimous in their decision to proceed with the general obligation bond vote, which was moved up from next spring to December.

“The push is because we’ve got to start construction next spring. Our time frame is tight, and as we all know, we will need this school by the opening of the 2015-16 school year,” said Business Manager Paul Lundberg at the board’s Oct. 15 session. “We’re busting at the seams.”

The proposed school would house the district’s fifth and sixth grades, opening room in Brandon Valley’s four elementary schools and the middle school. The addition of an intermediate school would hold off the need for a fifth elementary school, administrators say, and would provide room for enrollment growth in the seventh and eighth grades with the exit of sixth grade from the building.

“The intermediate school would take sixth grade students out of the middle school to provide room to grow for the future and would also ease the elementary schools’ space needs by moving the fifth grade students into the new school,” Superintendent Dave Pappone wrote in his Sept. 4 “Supe’s On” column. “This would have the effect of delaying the need for new elementary school construction. The explosion of new home construction in the district will quickly fill the elementary buildings to capacity and the intermediate school proposal helps relieve that pressure.”

District enrollment increased by 96 students this year for a total of 3,582 students (not including Early Childhood numbers). Enrollment at the middle school is just over 800, and the four elementary schools have a combined total that’s just shy of 1,800 kids.

Proposed school site
Earlier this year, a traffic study determined the best site for the school is on district-owned land located directly west of Robert Bennis Elementary. Vacant land on the current middle school site was also considered, but the 24-member Facility Needs Committee recommended to construct the school west of RBE.

The flow of traffic at the two possible building sites was the deciding factor in the committee’s recommendation, according to former BV School Board President Jean Bender. She said the group recognized there were traffic flow issues at both sites, but the current middle school campus would constitute a two-story building.

“Academically, that poses a few challenges,” Bender said.

Intermediate school funding
The $12 million intermediate school would be funded through general obligation bonds totaling $5,950,000 and capital outlay certificates of $6,160,000.

Administrators have suggested utilizing $5,950,000 in general obligation bonds that would be paid back at $450,000 annually over 20 years. Based on several assumptions – 3 percent valuation growth the first five years, 2 percent growth in years 6 to 10, and 1 percent growth for the remaining years – Lundberg said this would equate to a tax levy of approximately 28 cents per $1,000.

The remaining $6,160,000 would come from capital outlay certificates that would be paid back over 15 years at $525,000 annually.
In September, Lundberg told the Board the district has budgeted $600,000 annually for debt service. He also explained that district taxpayers have been assessed about $3 per $1,000 of valuation. Under this proposal, Lundberg said that would not change.
“The beauty of certificates in this fund is that there would be no increased tax levies based on the fact we are already levying $3 per $1,000 in this fund,” Lundberg said.
Debt service at this level would equate to 0.39 of the total $3 levy.
Last week, the Board hired Architecture, Inc., a Sioux Falls firm that has done prior work for the district. Lundberg said the district received four or five proposals for architectural services, which was narrowed down to two companies, Architecture, Inc. and TSP Architecture, also based in Sioux Falls.

Lundberg said bids from both companies were comparable.

“It boiled down to the biggest factor, (Architecture, Inc.’s) familiarity with our district,” he said.

Similar to previous building projects, Lundberg said a bond committee – made up of district patrons and school personnel – will be organized to “sell” the project to the voting public. Leading up to the Dec. 3 vote, Lundberg said a series of public meetings are being planned to explain the project and funding

On Dec. 3, Brandon Valley School District voters will decide the fate of a $12 million intermediate school. Voters will be asked to pass a $5.95 million general bond; the remaining $6.1 million would be funded through capital outlay money.

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