School ballot questions 3B and 3C pass for improving Windsor Re-4 | MyWindsorNow.com

School ballot questions 3B and 3C pass for improving Windsor Re-4

Mary-Kate Newton
mnewton@mywindsornow.com

Two ballot questions that would infuse millions of dollars into the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District passed handily in Tuesday's election.

The watch party at the Windsor Re-4 district office erupted with relief and excitement when the initiatives passed. Town board members, school board members and committee members shook hands, hugged and shared congratulations.

"We are just so grateful to the community for understanding the need," said Tempy Bowman, president of the Windsor Re-4 School Board. "We just couldn't be happier."

Ballot Issue 3B won 56.2 percent to 43.8 percent. It asked voters in the district to approve a mill levy override of up to $3.6 million, phased in at $1.2 million increments over three years and then continuing forever. The mill levy, which is a property tax increase, would cover operating costs of a proposed new high school, among other things. And the mill levy would not have counted unless related bond issue 3C also passed.

“We are just so grateful to the community for understanding the need.”Tempy BowmanPresident of the Windsor Re-4 School Board

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And, 3C won by an even bigger margin: 57.7 percent to 42.4 percent. It asked voters to approve a $104.8 million bond measure, which would cover the construction of a second high school in the district, as well as significant improvements to Windsor High School and the district's elementary and middle schools.

About $55 million will go toward constructing a second high school northeast of Severance Middle School, and about $30 million will go to renovations and improvements at Windsor High School.

"It'll be an interesting ride," said Superintendent Dan Seegmiller from a watch party. "It's a relief to have this initiative pass so that we have the resources to continue on. At the same time, we are aware of the magnitude of the work ahead."

Seegmiller said the district will tackle more improvement projects than it has undergone at one given time.

"If I could believe in any district to pull this off, it's this one," he said.

At next week's, school board meeting, the board will announce the organization of a citizen's bond oversight committee, which will monitor and advise the district in its use of the bond funds.

The committee is separate from the district's design advisory committees, which focuses on building architecture and programming.

Next week, the board will review a bond project timeline that will be released online at weldre4.org/bond.

Though that timeline hasn't been nailed down yet, officials projected the new high school will be open in 2019, and that capital improvements to the high school, middle schools and elementary schools will begin shortly next year.

Construction and improvement projects could start as soon as May 2017, according to a news letter Seegmiller sent this week.

Chris Ruff, co-chairman for the issue committee Friends of Weld Re-4, an issue committee made up of parents, community members, business leaders, teachers and administrators. Fiends of Weld Re-4 is separate from the school district, and was instrumental in raising money to get 3B and 3C passed for the district.

Ruff said from the district watch party Tuesday that 3B and 3C passing was the result of years of hard work from the district and committees. Friends of Weld Re-4 and the district's long-term growth committee examined the district's growth over the last 10 years to create predictions for what the district would need with 3B and 3C.

The district has seen an average of 5.1 percent annual growth during the past 10 years, but this last year grew 9.8% and as of count day Oct. 5. This means the district serves 6,037 students.

He said that he credits 3B and 3C's success to openness with the community about the district's needs, nailing down the exact amount of money needed to make an impact and the community's resulting support.

"We did what's best for the kids and the district," he said. "We can't Band-Aid this, but we're not trying to build the Taj Mahal either."