GHEC School Board Approves Ballot Measures for School Expansion

The Granada Huntley East Chain School Board unanimously approved two ballot measures concerning funding for a $1.9 million school expansion.

The add-on would include two new elementary classrooms, a kitchen expansion and a new agriculture shop.

Recently the district has seen elementary class sizes increase, prompting concerns about overextending teachers.  One proposal for the classrooms included in the expansion would allow the school to move students in over-capacity elementary classes into a smaller multi-grade class.

A larger student body also prompts the kitchen expansion.

The final item in the expansion is a new workshop for the district’s agriculture program.  The ag program recently merged with its industrial technology program and the workshop would be used for a variety of different courses and projects.

The district plans to move ahead with the expansion regardless of whether or not the ballot measures pass.  The measures would allow the school board to implement an alternative funding scheme in which most of the project’s costs would be paid for by they state.

If the measures fail, the district would have to pay for the expansion using its existing levy.  If the first measure succeeds, it would allow the district to issue building bonds to cover the cost of the project.  These bonds would be eligible for the state’s Ag2School tax credit, which would cover roughly 55% of construction costs.

The second ballot measure is contingent on the first passing.  It would revoke the district’s current operating levy of roughly $2,908 per pupil and replace it with a levy of $2,700 per pupil, a reduction of roughly 7%.  This reduced levy would begin to apply to taxes payable in 2024 and would remain in place for 10 years.  The reduction would be possible because the Ag2School tax credit would supplant the income the district would receive from its original levy.