Last month, the Board approved going out for bid on additions to the elementary schools. While the Board won't take action on approving the project until spring, this seems like a good time to recap the main features of the proposal, explain how it would link to our long-range facility plans and talk a little about the key role the Finance Committee plays in helping the district navigate the money part of this and other decisions.
Since July, the Board has been considering making improvements to our elementary schools. The plan that has evolved is practical and affordable; it will ease overcrowding in the short-term and align with our hopes for a new school in the long term. The core of the plan is to add four flexible classrooms at each elementary school; beyond that there are some differences based on the needs and opportunities at each school. Overall, these additions are consistent with the feedback we've received about our buildings throughout our long-range planning processes, particularly with the 2009 Master Facility Recommendation, which urged the Board to take care of pressing needs at the schools as soon as it was able. The Board wanted an approach that was equitable yet responsive to the unique needs at each building, provided the most value possible for our limited budget and did not limit the Board's decision-making ability with respect to future renovations and expansions. You can find more information about facilities here, and more detail about the proposal for each school here.
The Board has options regarding paying for these additions. Financial decisions like this are always reviewed first by the Board's Finance Committee, which provides its best guidance to the Board. Finance Committee members Joe Bochenski, Patrick Escalante and Chairperson Drew Ellis have strong business and financial backgrounds and years of combined experience in banking, investing and commercial real estate. Finance Committee meetings precede the regular board meetings and are often attended by other board members, and community members are welcome as well. The Finance Committee is looking at paying for the project by a combination of district savings and loans that the District would repay out of normal operating funds; due to our strong financial position, loans are available to us at very good terms. This approach does not require a referendum and would not impact tax bills. The Committee expects to make a recommendation to the full Board in January on financing of the additions, including proportion of savings to borrowed funds and the terms of repayment. As always, I and all the Board members encourage parents and community members to attend these meetings.
Finally, I am always so aware of the spirit of community and giving in our schools among adults and children alike, never more so than at this time of year. On behalf of the Board of Education, I thank you for your generosity, and I wish you a warm and wonderful holiday season.