Downvalley school bond passed easily | AspenTimes.com
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Downvalley school bond passed easily

A property tax hike to improve schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs won so easily Tuesday that even supporters were surprised.”I’m pleasantly surprised and crying tears of joy,” said Carbondale resident Denise Moss, a co-chair of a committee that worked to pass the proposal.The Roaring Fork School District asked voters to approved an $86 million bond to build a couple of new schools and renovate several existing ones. The bonds will be repaid through a property tax increase.That question, 3B on ballots in parts of Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties, was approved 8,680 to 5,630 votes, or a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent. It carried by a similar margin in each of the three counties.A separate property tax increase was approved to raise an additional $1.8 million in operating revenues. Those funds will be used to increase the pay of teachers and other district employees, and to maintain small class sizes in grades kindergarten through third.That question, 3A, was approved 9,828 to 4,666, or a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent.Moss said she wasn’t as surprised that the mill levy increase won by a wide margin. Raising the pay for teachers didn’t generate the same level of debate as the $86 million in bonds.The two proposals combined will increase the property tax by about $20 per month and $240 annually on a typical house with a value of $400,000. Proponents in Citizens for Investing in Roaring Fork School District Kids successfully argued that the benefits to the communities would outweigh the cost.”I was very pleased that people took the time to get educated and really find out about it,” said Moss.If the bonds wouldn’t have passed, the district was prepared to find money for repairs out of the operating fund, which is used for education.Passage of the $86 million bond will allow construction of new high schools in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Basalt High School will be expanded and the elementary school will receive a massive renovation. All the work except the Glenwood school is scheduled to be completed by August 2006, according to Moss.”This eliminates one of the problems we have,” said Moss, a resident of Carbondale. “Now we can get on to other issues.”In Garfield County the vote on 3A was 6,383 in favor, 3,219 against and on 3B is was 5,539 in favor and 3,898 against.In the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County, the vote was 2,135 to 808 on 3A and 1,945 to 989 on 3B.In Pitkin County, the vote was 1,310 in favor and 639 against on 3A and 1,196 to 743 on 3B.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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