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Zero-Tax-Rate-Change Bond Issue Information
What is the purpose of the bond resolution?
The bond resolution addresses Hazelwood’s proposed $130 million zero-tax-rate-change bond issue that will be on the November 8, 2022 ballot. The bond issue is proposed to fund safety and security improvements; updates and renovations to athletic/activity facilities; classroom technology and network upgrades; purchase new school buses, improve the energy efficiency of facilities; and pay off existing lease obligations for school bus purchases and energy efficiency projects. Passage of the bond issue would not increase the district’s debt service tax rate, which is used solely to fund construction and major repair and improvement projects in the district. A four-sevenths super-majority (57.14%) is required for approval of the bond issue.
What will the zero-tax-rate-change bond issue pay for?
Funds from the zero-tax-rate-change bond issue will support the following priorities determined through the budget committee process and input from the Board of Education:
- improving security and safety throughout the District
- upgrading playgrounds and athletic/recreational activity facilities
- improving the energy efficiency of District facilities
- purchasing new buses
- classroom technology and network upgrades
- pay off existing lease obligations of the District
What is a zero-tax-rate-change bond issue?
A zero-tax-rate-change bond issue is a traditional way for schools to borrow money to pay for capital projects that are too costly for a typical budget. In Missouri, this requires voter approval even if the bond issue will not raise the tax rate. It works much like a home equity loan, where a homeowner who pays down his or her debt can spend up to his or her credit limit again for new projects without paying more in his or her monthly loan payment.
How can we complete these projects without raising taxes?
Bonds are low-interest loans the district pays back using funds from its debt service levy. Funds from the debt service levy cannot be used to pay for salaries, classroom supplies or other routine, budgeted items that support teaching and learning in the classroom. Hazelwood can borrow up to $130 million in bond funds without raising the debt service levy used to repay the financing. With the new bond issue, Hazelwood is able to complete the projects in a new facilities plan using the same existing levy.
Can we use the money that would pay off bonds for things like salaries or day-to-day expenses?
No, state law only allows debt service revenue to be used for the repayment of principal and interest on general obligation bonds.
Why do we need a bond issue?
Without the passage of the Zero-Tax-Rate-Change Bond issue, it will take the district several years, if not decades, to piece together the renovations and improvements that are needed. The district will do its best to continue to complete small individual projects as funding allows, but major projects have been deferred for several years in order to balance the budget. Now it is critical that we plan for the future while updating aging buildings and provide safe and modern facilities for all of our students, parents and staff.
When will work be done? Isn’t the construction market difficult right now?
The district’s goal will be to complete the projects in a timely manner and allow for the most efficient use of the bond funds. Given the scope of the projects, it may take 2-3 years for all projects to be completed. Knowing this, the district will work with architects and construction experts to schedule work at the most opportune times and with the least disruption possible to students and staff, all while striving for the best cost possible for projects.
How did the district identify the projects proposed to be completed?
The district has utilized a budget committee approach in the development of the budget for the last several years. Through this process, several potential projects that appear on the current priority list were submitted as options for consideration.
In addition, in 2019-20 the district commissioned an asset sustainability/facilities master plan study to conduct a needs assessment of all district facilities in order to develop a plan for addressing capital project needs as well as potential financial strategies. The district is utilizing the resulting data to identify building renovations noted in the current priority list, including HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning), plumbing, electrical/wiring, parking lots and sidewalk renovations/replacement, and building shell and interior projects.
Finally, the Board of Education has provided input through several discussions regarding potential bond issue projects that encompass the above items and noted the need to include projects that directly impact and benefit students, such as safety and security, playgrounds and athletic/recreational activity facility renovations, and classroom technology and network updates.
Are additions and improvements already designed?
No, the district will conduct a Request for Proposal (RFP) to select potential architects for the projects. The actual design does not occur until after a bond issue is passed. The goal now is to make sure appropriate budgets are established. If the bond issue is approved in November, the district will work with the architects to create designs that meet the needs that have been identified.
What are some of the projects that are proposed to be included?
The current scope of the district-wide facilities master plan has many projects, but the initial proposed budget for this bond issue is below. Due to the current volatility of material pricing and availability, the district will continue to monitor the construction market throughout the planning and completion of projects in order to maximize the use of the bond funds.
Security upgrades and renovations - $7,000,000
- Update camera systems
- Secure vestibules at all elementary schools
- Alarm exterior doors
- Replace intercoms and bell systems (elementary schools, high schools, NWMS, Opportunity Center)
- Phone system updates
Athletic and Activity Facility Renovations - $13,500,000
- Football facility upgrades, including lights
- Locker Room renovations
- Middle school field and facility updates
- Tennis Court Resurfacing
- Replacement of score boards
- Resurface middle school tracks
- Replace various track and field fencing
- Renovation/replacement of various bleachers
Update classroom technology - $7,500,000
- Replace interactive boards and hardware district-wide
- STEM lab
Vocational and science lab safety and update items - $1,750,000
- Ensure eye washing stations in all science and vocational labs
- Update culinary arts labs at East High and Central High
- Update middle school science labs
Purchase remaining bus fleet - $4,000,000
- Purchase forty (40) air-conditioned buses to complete turnover of fleet replacement since 2019
HVAC and Plumbing building renovations - $35,580,000
- Phase-out R-22 systems (refrigerant being discontinued)
- Replace Daikin units
- Replace boilers (16) that are 40+ years old
- Replace hydronic pipe insulation
- Replace Central High boilers and pool boiler
- Replace East High cooling tower
- Replace Opportunity Center cooling tower
- Address air conditioning in nine kitchens
Building shell/exterior renovation items - $10,500,000
- Replace wooden-framed exterior doors throughout the district
- Address roofs requiring update/overlayment (include East High, West High, Northwest Middle, Opportunity Center, Armstrong, Brown, Grannemann, Larimore, Lusher, Russell, East EC conference room)
Electrical/wiring building renovations - $2,750,000
- Replace/add freezer/refrigerator and electricity loss alarms
- Replace fire and intrusion alarms
- Replace emergency power in Central High fieldhouse
- Add Central Stores fire alarm and suppression system
- West High main transformer replacement
Building site renovations - $9,500,000
- District-wide sidewalk and parking lot repairs and renovations
- Outdoor light replacements
- Address Larimore drainage
- Replace fencing (Townsend, Twillman, Keeven, Grannemann, Garrett)
- Address WMS field drainage
- Replace West High and East High marquees
- Renovation/replacement of various playgrounds
Interior building renovations - $7,250,000
- Replace various hallway floor tiles
- Update restroom floors with epoxy flooring
- Update Child Nutrition equipment (various dishwashers, combi-ovens, proofing/warming cabinets, serving lines - nearly every building will have an update of one or more of these items)
- Add Northwest Middle stage wall and replace curtains
- Update sound and lights at Central High auditorium
- Update various science lab furniture
- Replacement of elevators at West High and East High
Pay off bus lease-purchases and Certificates of Participation (energy efficiency projects) - $17,600,000
- This will generate average annual operational savings of $2,031,000
10% Contingency plus election costs - $13,070,000