ST. GEORGE - Washington County School District officials said they’ve outgrown their current school buildings and are asking the taxpayers for permission to borrow money to build more.
The bond measure will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot as proposition nine and would allow for up to $185 million in bonds for the renovation of several existing schools, as well as the construction of three new elementary schools, a new middle and intermediate school and a new high school.
“Growth in the Little Valley/Washington Fields area,” said Superintendent Larry Bergeson. “It was extreme. And it put those pressures on the school district, and then they’re continuing.”
Bergeson said they’ve seen a little more than 3 percent growth throughout the district, more than initially anticipated. He said they’ve planned for new schools as a long-term solution.
“With the new growth comes a need for more buildings,” Bergeson said. “Or we’ll have to consider the options of year-round schools, split session, over-crowded classrooms. And we would prefer not to have to deal with those types of issues.”
Bergeson said it’s a bit like a domino effect, in that the new growth in the area means they need a larger school system. A larger, healthier school system will attract more growth. Parents in the Little Valley area said it’s something they see becoming more and more of an issue.
“We have a lot of kids in this area,” parent Ramona Schwendiman said. “I’m active in the PTAs at the schools, and I’ve noticed that we are just at the brim of whatever our capabilities are.”
But other parents said, while they support the expansion of the school system, more money is not the answer. They’d like to see the school district look at other ways of re-allocating funds.
“I don’t like it that the administration wants to use more taxes,” parent Leanna Blake said. “We just don’t like the fact that they get such high pay, when they should lower their pay to do more for the schools.”
Even if the measure is approved, Bergeson said the district would only borrow what they needed for population growth. The bond is not expected to raise taxes for most homeowners for the first four years it’s in place.
More information on the details of the bond measure is available for download as a PDF via the school district’s website.