Mountain Valley School District was recently awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new PreK-12 school. There have been a lot of great questions during this process, and I want to take some time to answer these frequently asked questions. My hope is that our residents will have all of the information they need to make the best decision possible for our students, families, and community.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROGRAM?
Building Excellent Schools Today legislation was passed in the spring of 2007 for the purpose of assisting school districts with low property values in upgrading facilities to a minimum standard of safety and functionality. Without this BEST funding, low property value school districts, like Mountain Valley School District, would never be able to build safe and modern school facilities for our students, families, and community.
HOW MUCH WILL THE PROPOSED NEW SCHOOL COST?
The total cost of a new PreK-12 school facility presented in the Mountain Valley School BEST Grant proposal was just under $31 million dollars. Last May, Mountain Valley School District was awarded a $27 million BEST Grant. To receive this BEST Grant, it will be necessary for district residents to “match” about $3.7 million of this cost (about 12%) by approving a bond during the 2017 election. The State of Colorado will be providing 88% of the approved BEST project funding costs.
WHAT WOULD IT COST TO SIMPLY RENOVATE OUR CURRENT FACILITIES AT MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT?
A 2009 facilities assessment by the Colorado Department of Education found almost $17 million worth of needed repairs at Mountain Valley School District. Since that time, conditions at the school have only deteriorated while costs have escalated. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, Mountain Valley School can never repair the existing problems without funding assistance. Due to the current condition of our facilities and cost to renovate, remodeling was never a feasible option. The Colorado Department of Education’s Capital Construction Board ranked Mountain Valley’s new school construction project as the highest need in the state of Colorado and awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new state-of-the-art school facility for our community.
WILL WE KEEP ANY OF THE BUILDINGS WE ALREADY HAVE?
The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan allows the Middle School building to be repurposed as a Transportation and Maintenance facility.
HOW DISRUPTIVE WILL THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS BE TO THE EDUCATION PROCESS?
The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan shows that the new school will be built and opened before vacating the old buildings.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO DO THIS NOW? ARE OUR CURRENT BUILDINGS NO LONGER SAFE?
During the 2017 BEST Grant application process, Mountain Valley School District was the top-ranked school in the state needing new educational facilities. Our buildings currently exhibit numerous safety, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roofing issues, as well as other urgent needs. In addition, there is only a limited amount of BEST funding available for projects like the one Mountain Valley School District has been awarded. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity to provide a much-needed new PreK-12 facility for our students, families, and community. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, our district will never be able to improve our facilities situation and provide both today’s and tomorrow’s students with the safe and modern facilities they deserve. This $27 million BEST Grant funding opportunity may never be offered to Mountain Valley School again. Moffat, Creede, Sanford, South Conejos, Sargent, Alamosa, Monte Vista, Sangre De Cristo and Centennial schools have already built new and modern facilities with BEST funding.
HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN A HOUSE OR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?
If your property’s assessed value is $25,000, your tax impact will be about $2.34 per month or $28.02 per year.
If your property’s assessed value is $50,000, your tax impact will be about $4.67 per month or $56.04 per year.
If your property’s assessed value is $75,000, your tax impact will be about $7.00 per month or $84.06 per year.
If your property’s assessed value is $100,000, your tax impact will be about $9.34 per month or $112.08 per year.
HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN COMMERCIAL OR AGRICULTURE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?
For business and agricultural owners, the tax impact for every $100,000 of assessed commercial or agricultural property will be about $37.36 per month or $448.32 per year.
WHAT HAPPENS IF VOTERS DO NOT APPROVE THE 2017 BOND DURING THE NOVEMBER 7, 2017ELECTION?
If the November 2017 bond fails, the $27 million BEST Grant awarded to Mountain Valley School District reverts back to the State of Colorado to be distributed to another school district that is willing to meet its BEST Grant match requirement. The first district in line to receive this money if we fail to pass our 2017 Bond is Mancos School District, which has already been selected by the BEST Grant Board as an alternate project should any project ahead of them fail to provide their match this November. If the bond fails, Mountain Valley School District will not have the necessary funding to address current safety issues and failing systems. BEST Grant funding is dwindling, and there is no guarantee that state funding will ever be available again to help our school.
If you still have questions or need more information regarding the BEST Grant, please contact me at 719-655-0268. I would be happy to schedule a time to meet and tour our school.
Have a fantastic week!
Superintendent’s Corner Number 1
It is going to be another great year at Mountain Valley School, and I am excited to see students back in the building. I have truly missed all of the kids and the laughter and joy they bring. As we begin 2017-2018 school year, MVS will be focusing on three main goals: relationships, innovation and rejuvenation.
I believe that relationships drive the culture of a school. Not just relationships with students, but relationships with parents, families and the community. It is also critical to foster quality relationships between staff members as we work towards continuous improvement. This year, we will continue to build positive relationships with each and every student, family and the greater community. My hope is that everyone can feel the welcoming atmosphere at Mountain Valley the minute you walk through our doors.
Innovation is also a priority this year. Not just doing something new, but doing something new and better. Teachers and students will be encouraged to take educational risks, experiment, fail, learn and repeat the process. True learning takes place just outside of one's comfort zone. Individualized student capstone projects, technology integration, and staff-driven professional learning are some areas of innovation this year at Mountain Valley. Experts say that human knowledge is doubling every 13 months, and we can no longer afford to do what we have always done. Educational reformist John Dewey said it best when he stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow.”
Transportation, technology and facilities are all focuses of rejuvenation this year. Our aging transportation fleet was in desperate need of attention, with most vehicles logging close to 200,000 or more miles. In order to provide safe transportation for our students and staff, Mountain Valley School recently purchased a route bus as well as two activity vehicles. Technology improvements at MVS include quality mesh WIFI throughout the entire school, which has completely solved our past connectivity problems. Additionally, teachers and students now have up-to-date Chromebooks and will be integrating technology throughout the curriculum.
As you have probably heard, Mountain Valley School District has received a twenty-seven million dollar BEST Grant to build a new school and athletic facilities for our students and community. This grant requires a twelve percent match, which will come from a $3.7 million bond to be voted on in November 2017.
I am excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve our school while providing a modern and updated educational facility for our community. Our school is the heart of the community, with numerous events taking place at MVS throughout the year.
In a 2009 site assessment, it was estimated that Mountain Valley School had almost $17 million in needs with a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million. Since that time, our needs have only increased. We currently have countless plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, and security issues, with several components of our facilities well beyond their useful life. Without help from the BEST Grant, we will never be able to improve our situation or sustain our school district facilities in the future.
We will be having a BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community informational meeting at Mountain Valley School on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 6:00 PM. During this meeting, we will celebrate our success in obtaining the BEST Grant, review the proposed plan for the new school, discuss the 2017 bond election, answer questions, and seek community input. EVERYONE is invited! We welcome and need everyone's input!
I hope to see you at our BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community meeting!
Travis Garoutte Superintendent
Mountain Valley School strives to create a welcome, safe and healthy environment that inspires lifelong learners who are Positive, Ethical, Accountable and Kind.
Empower and prepare every student for lifelong academic success and personal growth.