Archuleta School District #50 JT

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School Facilities Vision Plan FAQs

In July 2016, RTA Architects conducted a comprehensive facilities study that outlined the condition of our school buildings, which resulted in the Board of Education approving the selection of the Planning Assistance Team (PAT) -- a diverse group of community members -- to research the findings and provide recommendations on how to proceed.
 
The PAT met 13 times over the course of a year and in April 2018 finalized a proposed vision or master plan that outlined a possible course of action. The group carefully considered factors such as safety and security, major sustaining capital improvements (not upkeep and maintenance) needed for aging buildings, increasing enrollment numbers, BEST grant requirements, and other items that influenced their final decision. 
 
The following is a list of FAQs generated by the PAT's work over the course of this past year. If you have a question that is not answered in the list, please send it to ASD Communications Specialist Kim Elzinga at kelzinga@pagosa.k12.co.us. Please note: Similar questions are answered with a single response. If you do not see the exact wording of your question, look for a similar FAQ. 
 
 
Why is Archuleta School District 50 JT considering placing a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot? 
Archuleta School District seeks to address its highest priority capital facility needs, including replacing the aging elementary school and addressing upgrades to the middle school and high school. Over the past nine years, state funding to the District has been cut by a total of $11 million. Funds are not available to address these facility needs.
 
Has the District applied for grant funding from the State of Colorado?
Yes, the District has applied for three grants from the State’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program that, if awarded in full, would provide 39% of the total cost of the proposed capital facility improvements. This equates to almost $15 million. 
 
Would the District be responsible for providing matching funds?
The District would be responsible for funding a 61% match, or about $34.4 million. Without available reserves to address the required match, the District is proposing to seek a voter-approved bond measure. 
 
If the District turned down the grants or if voters did not support the proposed bond measure, would the District be able to re-apply for a BEST grant in the future?
There is a long line of Colorado school districts seeking BEST grants. The District could re-apply, but it is unlikely these funds would be awarded.
 
What is the sunset date of the District’s current bond?
Payments on the current bond will expire in December 2020.
 
Why is the District also considering placing a mill levy override (MLO) measure on the November 2018 ballot?
The District is looking to address its highest priority operating needs, including recruiting and retaining teachers and staff, expanding full-day kindergarten opportunities and hiring three school resource officers to improve school safety and security. 
 
Have voters in our District previously approved an MLO measure?
Over the past 68 years, we have had no MLOs approved. This creates a competitive disadvantage with other districts of our size and within our region.

What challenges does the District face regarding recruiting and retaining teachers?
Other Colorado school districts that have obtained voter-approved MLO funding are aggressively recruiting seasoned teachers throughout the state by providing higher pay and benefits. When we lose teachers, it is very expensive to recruit and train new ones. Losing experienced teachers also has an impact on student performance and lowers teacher morale.  
 
What are the benefits of full-day kindergarten?
Research shows that full-day kindergarten provides many benefits, including higher long-term achievement, higher reading scores in early grades, higher self esteem, and other positive outcomes.
 
What is the difference between a bond measure and mill levy override measure?  
The proceeds of a voter-approved bond measure go toward bricks and mortar type projects, whereas a voter-approved mill levy typically goes toward ongoing operations.
 
What improvements would be addressed at each school? 
The proposal calls for the replacement of the existing elementary school with a new school sized to serve Pre-K through 5th Grade. Improvements to the middle school would focus on health, life-safety, security and ADA accessibility. The updated middle school would serve grades 6th through 8th. Safety and security improvements would also be addressed at the high school as well as the construction of a Career & Technical Education building and an additional gymnasium. 
 
What is the total cost of the proposed facility improvements? And if awarded, how would the BEST grants impact the total cost to taxpayers? 
Breakdown of total costs and applicable requested grants and required matches:
Construction of New Elementary School
Total Cost:                          $33,339,018
BEST Grant Request         $13,002,217
Required Matching Funds  $20,336,801
 
Middle School Improvements
Total Cost: $4,605,260
BEST Grant:                        $1,796,051
Required Matching Funds   $2,809,209
 
High School Improvements
Total Cost: $11,412,000
BEST Grant:                           $199,680
Required Matching Funds  $11,212,320
 
Why was the decision made to replace the elementary school rather than the middle school? 
Facility challenges at the elementary school outweigh those at the middle school, especially with regard to the lack of space. For example, lunch periods start at 10:30am at the elementary school because there is simply not enough space to accommodate all students at normal lunch hours.
 
What are the benefits of the proposed bond measure and MLO measure? 
Some of the many anticipated benefits include:
• Improving safety and security district-wide
• Extending the useful life of the middle school and high school
• Improving accessibility for students, staff, parents and visitors with disabilities
• Enhancing energy efficiencies, saving taxpayer dollars
• Reducing costly emergency repairs, saving taxpayer dollars
• Further enhancing property values
• Reducing costly teacher turnover
• Leveraging instructional technology, promoting collaboration in the classroom, and aligning teaching methods with 21st century skills
 
To what extent has the District done its homework in defining its capital facility and operating needs, and involving the community in the planning efforts?
The District’s bond and MLO proposals represent many months of planning, including extensive assistance from numerous community members, business, education and civic leaders, and other stakeholders. 
 
Why does the Board of Education believe this is the right time to place a bond and MLO on the ballot? 
If one or more BEST grants is awarded, the District will want to capture these funds. Furthermore, construction and borrowing costs continue to go up. The longer the District waits to address its highest priority capital facility needs, the more it will cost. There is also a strong need to make our schools safer and more secure and reduce teacher turnover.
 
Would the District pursue a bond and/or MLO if state grant monies are not awarded? 
As part of future community outreach meetings and mail survey, the District will be seeking the public’s input on this important question. If grant monies are not awarded, the District’s safety, security and other needs do not go away. The Board of Education will make the final decision regarding a bond and MLO.
 
What is estimated tax impact of the proposed voter-approved bond measure, with and without the BEST grant?
With the BEST grant, the estimated tax impact of a 20-year, $34.46 million bond (the required matching funds) is $5.59 per month per $100,000 of a home’s actual value (as determined by the County Assessor), or about $67.09 per year. Without the BEST grant, the tax impact of a 20-year, $49.46 million bond would be $6.26 per month per $100,000 of a home’s actual value.  
 
What is the estimated tax impact of the proposed voter-approved mill levy? 
The estimated tax impact of the $1.7 million mill levy is $3.58 per month per $100,000 of a home’s actual value, or about $42.98 per year. Furthermore, all MLO funds would stay local. None of these monies would go back to the State. 
 
Would the tax impact be lower for homeowners who qualify and apply for the Colorado Senior Property Tax Exemption? 
Yes, the tax impact would be lower for seniors who qualify for the Colorado Senior Property Tax Exemption. 
 
What oversight would be in place? 
All spending from the bond would be publicly disclosed and project updates would be presented at community information meetings as well as on the District’s website. If BEST funding is awarded, additional oversight would be provided through the Colorado Department of Education Capital Construction Division. All project spending would be reviewed by an independent external auditor.
 
When will the District learn if its BEST application is awarded? 
The District will be notified in late May 2018.
 
How can residents provide their thoughts and recommendations on the two funding proposals? 
The District will be hosting public information meetings in May and June and mailing a public opinion survey district wide in the near future. 
Read more about the School Facilities Vision Plan FAQs

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Recruiting and retaining experienced teachers is a challenge for small rural districts like Archuleta County. Watch this short video, produced by the Colorado Department of Education, on what Archuleta School District is doing to meet that challenge.
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Events

June 27

School Board Retreat

Time: 3 PM – 6 PM
Location: Sunset Ranch Cabins, 4186 E Hwy 160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, USA

Bulletin Board

Presentation and elementary school tour Thur June 7, 6pm

The District seeks your thoughts and recommendations on two funding proposals to address our schools' highest priority capital facility and operating needs. Please come for a presentation and a tour of the elementary school Thursday, June 7, 6pm in the cafeteria.

Presentation and elementary school tour Sat May 26, 11am

The District seeks your thoughts and recommendations on two funding proposals to address our schools' highest priority capital facility and operating needs. Please come for a presentation and a tour of the elementary school Saturday, May 26, 11am in the cafeteria.

Community meeting on the Facilities Master Plan Thurs May 24, 6pm

The District seeks your thoughts and recommendations on two funding proposals to address our schools' highest priority capital facility and operating needs. Please come for a presentation Thursday, May 24, 6pm at the Ross Aragon Community Center, South Room.

ALP students present work at Symposium May 19

ASD Summit Program students will present their capstone project at the 1st Annual ALP Student Symposium Saturday, May 19, 1-3pm in the PSHS Commons. Admission is free. Refreshments served.
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Athletics

Archuleta School District At A Glance

sports 3 Academic and Athletic State Champions
diploma 92% Four Year Graduation Rate of Pagosa Springs HS
12 Athletic Programs Offered
56 District Educated Home/Private School Students
extracurricular 6 Yearly Drama/Theater Productions
students 1512 Number of K-12 Students
transcripts 40% Graduates who attend College/University
myschoolbucks $102K Grant Money Spent on After School Activities
56% Teachers with Post-Graduate Degrees
iccampusportal 1355 Square Miles in the District
49:51 Ratio of National Forest to Private Land
23 Average Class Size
20.4 2016 ACT Score