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Dr. Higgins: Proposed bond issue means zero impact on local tax levy, big changes for students

 
Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize Schools BY DR. CHAD HIGGINS
 
As our students break for summer and count down the days until their family vacation or when the swimming pool opens, we at Maize Schools always immediately start counting down to the first day of school. This year, another important August day has our attention: Aug. 27.
 
On that day, you and others in our OneMa1ze community will have the opportunity to head to the polls and weigh in on a bond issue election that is a vision for growth, safety, innovation, and opportunity. It will accommodate our rapidly growing student body, bring important additions and upgrades to our school security, and provide new and important opportunities for our students that will allow them to be successful today and in the future.
 
One of the biggest perks of this bond plan is that our community can provide these big changes for our students and schools with zero impact on the district's tax levy. The scenario is much like a homeowner who carefully times a much-needed home improvement project when he or she can manage it using the existing budget.
 
School finance can be a bit complicated and confusing, but here are some important facts to know:
  • The mill levy is the tax rate applied to assessed valuation to generate tax revenue.
  • Maize USD 266’s overall mill levy remains competitive with area districts.
  • The district has lowered taxes three out of the past four years. In 2018-19, Maize USD 266’s mill levy dropped from 60.550 to 59.790, the third annual decrease from 62.826 since 2015-16.
  • The district has saved taxpayers millions of dollars through careful bond debt management, specifically a fairly recent bond refinancing.
  • By balancing current and future bond and interest, the district would be able to assume the additional bond with zero change. Strategic planning and the refinancing of past bonds by shortening the terms allow for flexibility in the current bond scenario.
 
With zero change to the mill levy, our community can bring about big change for our students. These big changes for students are much-needed: Our district has grown nine percent in the past five school years, adding 600 students to our classrooms and schools. We need more space. We need upgraded safety. We need our students to have continued access to innovative education with many opportunities.
 
Maize Board of Education members on May 6 unanimously approved the bond plan as presented by the Facilities Committee, and I invite you to click here to see that presentation.
 
I imagine you may have questions about this plan and the data and needs that led to it. That's why today we are launching a new Q&A webpage full of answers. If you have an additional question, please e-mail it to facilityplanning@usd266.com.
 
Thank you for another fantastic year and for your support as we carefully plan for the future of our amazing district.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools