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Bond Home / 2016 Election / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the bond? See answers to some frequently asked questions here and add your own by emailing engage@weldre4.org. Check back for updated questions and answers.


How many schools are in Weld RE-4 and how many students do we serve?

5,500 students in 10 schools (one high school, two middle schools, five elementary schools, and two charter schools) located in the towns of Windsor and Severance. Today, our district serves 2,100 more students than it did 10 years ago. 

Is the district overcrowded because of students who “open enroll” into our district from outside our boundaries?

No. In the 2015-2016 school year, approximately 440 students from within our district chose to attend a school in a neighboring district while approximately 500 students “open-enrolled” into one of our eight traditional schools; we gained less than 60 students. Our capacity issues come from within our own boundaries.


Why is Weld RE-4 considering a bond program?

In the interests of our students and our community we believe that quality infrastructure and secure and well-maintained assets should be a priority. Maintaining and improving our facilities and building for the future has been impossible within our district budget due, in large part, to Colorado’s negative factor, which has reduced Colorado per pupil funding by more than $5 billion statewide ($27M to Weld RE-4) since 2009. Windsor High School went over capacity in 2014, and the population of high school aged students in the district, continues to grow. Without another high school, enrollment at Windsor High School would reach over 1,700 students in 2021. Improvements must be made to Windsor High School and a second high school considered, in order to provide students in our community with the best education. Additionally, substantial maintenance issues in our older buildings like Windsor Middle School, Tozer Primary School, and Mountain View and Skyview elementary schools require the support of a bond.

When was the last time Weld RE-4 asked the voters to approve a bond?

2007. At that time voters approved a school bond of $41.5M to build Severance Middle School and Range View Elementary School, build an addition to Grandview Elementary School, and improve other facilities.

What is the total cost of the 2016 recommended bond proposal?

On April 18, 2016 the Weld RE-4 Design Advisory Committee (DAC) recommended that the Board of Education consider referring a bond proposal, totaling $104.8 million, to the voters this fall. The $104.8 million in taxpayer support is expected to fund over $116 million in projects because of bond premium. Bond premium occurs when interest rates are low and bond investors are willing to pay a “premium” (over and above face value) that will pay them a higher interest rate for a longer period of time. The premium the investor pays is paid to Weld RE-4 and is conservatively expected to generate $12 million.

What is the estimated individual cost to property owners in Weld RE-4?

The estimated taxpayer impact for the bond and potential corresponding mill levy override (made based on current district assessed values, which will be revised this summer and may change the numbers we are sharing here) is $4.50a month per $100,000 of residential market value ($54 annually) in 2017, $5.00 a month ($60 annually) in 2018, and $5.67 a month ($68 annually) in 2019 and beyond. These amounts reflect a phase-in of the mill levy override over three years.

How will the bond projects be financed?

The district will sell general obligation bonds to investors to raise the funds needed. Weld RE-4 will sell bonds and the proceeds will be deposited into secure, low-risk interest-bearing accounts as required by state law. The funds will be used to pay for bond projects as they are completed.

Can the district afford a $104.8 million bond?

Yes. $104.8 million is well within the district’s bonding capacity. Weld RE-4 qualifies to issue debt for 25 percent of its assessed value because it qualifies as “fast-growing.” With an assessed value of $626 million, the district qualifies to have up to $156.6 million in debt. We currently have $31.25 million in debt, leaving a debt capacity of about $125 million.

How does the community benefit from a bond program?

The community—homeowners, business owners, and employees who work in Windsor and Severance—have a vested interest in the prosperity of the Weld RE-4 School District. There is evidence that public school quality is an important driver of community satisfaction and that quality schools positively impact the value of homes within their boundaries. Research shows that home buyers will pay more per square foot for homes located within top-ranked school districts.

When will the Board of Education decide if they will refer a bond program to the voters and when will the bond vote take place?

The Board of Education will vote in the summer of 2016, on whether to refer a bond program to the ballot for voter consideration. If referred by the Board, the question will be on the November, 2016 ballot.


What will the bond pay for?

A majority of the $104.8 million in bond funding will go to address the district’s urgent high school capacity issues and much needed facility improvements at Windsor High School. Nearly $30 million will be used toward significant renovations and innovations for Windsor High School including the construction of an Innovation Center. About $55 million will be spent on the construction of a second high school in Severance that will initially accommodate 800 students and eventually be expanded to serve 1200 students. $12.5 million is proposed for facility investments and improvements across the district’s elementary and middle schools. A small portion of this funding (about 4 percent) will be used for facility improvements to other district facilities.

Will the bond program include demolishing the closed portion of Windsor Middle School?

While demolition was strongly considered, the DAC made the tough decision to defer the project for a future bond program, focused on elementary and middle school needs, when the budget can accommodate not just demolition, but appropriate construction to replace the demolished building.

Will the bond program include projects for charter schools in the district?

Mill levy override funds will support school improvements at Windsor Charter Academy.

How were the bond facility investments selected?

The DAC’s recommendation of $104.8 million in projects is the culmination of a large-scale effort that began in 2014 when the district’s Long Range enrollment forecast was updated. The Board formed three committees that year (participation was open to everyone in the community), and directed that a Master Plan be developed to address high school enrollment capacity. In 2015, the committees spent time gathering information, researching a variety of solutions, talking to students and teachers, and embarking on site visits and a visioning tour. In 2015, the district had a thorough facility assessment completed for each of its facilities, which revealed $32 million in facility needs in district elementary schools, middle schools, and operational buildings—a prioritization process produced the $12.5 million in projects that the DAC is recommending today.

Why are we considering building a new high school instead of just expanding Windsor High School?

In April 2014, the district held a meeting to discuss the capacity issue at Windsor High School and broach possible solutions such as expanding the current high school or adding a second one. At that time, three committees were formed to gather information on possible options. The committees visited different schools, researched possibilities, and looked at aspects of different facilities the district might want to incorporate into any expansion work. 

In December 2014, the committees reported back to the Board of Education and the Board instructed staff to begin investigating the next steps for renovating Windsor High School and considering a new high school in Severance.

What are the district’s priorities in the design and construction of a new high school?

The building will be built as a durable brick/steel structure that offers us the flexibility (as we have in our newer buildings) to expand and add-on as we reach capacity again in the future. All mechanical and electrical systems will be designed to make learning environments better and operate with energy efficiency to keep ongoing costs low. The mechanical system will be designed to have a long life; they will use hot water and boilers to heat spaces and have air conditioning. The building will offer students the kind of high school experience our community has come to expect, such as: wrestling rooms, weight room, both vocal and band rooms, drama, auditorium, workshops, multiple gyms, and locker rooms for athletics in addition to PE.

When would the new high school open, how many students will it serve and what programs and sports will it offer?

Initially, the new high school will serve 800-900 students and would open in the fall of 2019. The school will be designed to be expanded in the future to hold up to 1,200 students. If the bond is successful, the district will seek input from the community on specific programs and sports the new school will offer. The community can expect that there may be shared programs between the two high schools to maximize facilities and opportunities for students. Both high schools will offer quality, comprehensive programs. 

How will the new high school affect the district’s athletic classification?

The Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) determines district athletic classifications based on enrollment ranges on a two-year cycle. To determine classifications for individual and team sports, CHSAA takes the total number of high schools in the state and divides them evenly into classifications based on total high school enrollment (from highest to lowest). In our current 4A football classification for the 2016-2018 cycle for example, Windsor High School will be one of the largest high schools with over 1,330 students, while the smallest high school in our class has around 630 students. In November 2017, CHSAA will establish classification for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years. If the bond is successful, Weld RE-4 will petition for the second Weld RE-4 high school to have active membership in CHSAA. In its first year of operation, the new school will be placed in a class based on the October 1, 2017 student count that is submitted to the Colorado Department of Education by the district. In November 2019, CHSAA will set new athletic classifications per its two-year classification cycle.

How will the district finance the new high school’s operational costs?

The district will ask the Board of Education to consider referring an additional ballot initiative in November (a mill levy override) to support operational costs associated with the new high school. Mill levy overrides have historically supported operational costs at new Weld RE-4 schools.

What will happen at the high school level if the bond is not approved by the voters?

The district’s Long Range Facility Planning Committee’s top recommendation is construction of a new building. The Committee did provide secondary recommendations, as a contingency, to deal with capacity that include the use of modulars, joint or alternative use facilities, and multi-track or year-round school. Windsor High School is already beyond its capacity of 1,290 students. Next year (2016-2017), student enrollment is expected to be 1,422 students. If a new school is not built, Windsor High School’s enrollment will be 24 percent above capacity—1,603—in 2020 and will grow to 1,706 students by 2021.

Are technology projects part of the bond?

No. This spring, the School Board—with leadership, staff, and community input—will determine if there is widespread support to request funding for technology projects as part of a mill levy override.


How has the district engaged the community in the development of the bond proposal?

The district began hosting meetings in 2015 to share the progress of the DAC’s work, including its consensus around making significant improvements to Windsor High School and constructing a second high school to meet the needs of the district’s growing student population. These meetings continued in 2016, and each school hosted a community meeting on its identified facility needs in February and March. In addition to community meetings, the district presented a State of the District presentation to teachers, students, staff, and parents; is engaging community and civic organizations and leaders in the area; keeps the community informed through monthly email updates; and continues to offer the community an opportunity to provide feedback through its email address: engage@weldre4.org email.