HUACHUCA CITY — Tombstone Unified School District board members approved a resolution at Wednesday’s governing board meeting that calls for a special $10 million bond election that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot for voter approval.
If voters approve the initiative, the bond will be used for a list of facility improvements at all of the district’s sites.
Erica Combs of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, the underwriter for the bond proposal, presented the governing board with information about the bond process and different timelines. She explained the bond election process, key dates to track as the election approaches, and how the state calculates bond capacity for school districts.
Combs also touched on a number of statistics regarding past bond elections and talked about how bond capacity amounts are reached. Tombstone’s bond proposal is 20 percent of the assessed value of the district. With an assessed value of around $51 million, the district qualifies for a bond capacity of $10 million.
While looking at the calendar of events leading up to the election, Combs noted that August is when the voter information pamphlet will be compiled for the community’s benefit. The pamphlet is a statement about the bond, limited to factual information presented in a neutral format.
“A bond is a debt security,” Combs said “It’s voter approved on the secondary tax. It’s part of a tax bill for the district’s homeowners and property owners”’ and serves as a way to obtain funds for capital projects in the district.
Based on $100 assessed property valuation, a 15-year amortization would be $1.88 or $188 annually, around $16 a month. The tax rate for a 20-year amortization — which is what the school board approved — would be $1.57 for $157 annually, or around $13 a month.
Following Comb’s presentation, Superintendent Robert Devere outlined a number facility problems throughout the district that the $10 million bond, if approved by voters in the November election, will be used to address.
Upgrades at Huachuca City School include complete remodels on several buildings and remodeling to the school gymnasium.
Landscaping the campus and installing a security system, improved fencing and reconfiguring and upgrading the parking lot to make it safer for students, are some of the major upgrades.
Walter J. Meyer will have a safer, secured front office portico, new windows on buildings throughout the campus and bathroom renovations.
“We have a wonderful new high school, but it’s not finished,” Devere said. “I don’t know how long we’re going to call it a new high school — we’re in our 13th year there. We need an agriculture and welding facility for our FFA program. We need tennis courts, baseball and softball fields and we need a track.”
The bond money, Devere said, will provide the necessary funds to complete major projects on the high school campus.
“New bleachers are needed for the football field. We also need new fencing, landscaping and there are drainage issues on all three campuses.”
Board member Mike Hayhurst asked if members of the community will be allowed access to such facilities as tennis courts, the track and ball fields. Hayhurst believes that opening these facilities to the community will help get bond support.
“I think if we’re going to get Huachuca City people to vote for this, we need to have something for them,” he said. “I think public facilities for the community — a walking track with lights, access to tennis courts, something that will draw people in — will go a long way to get support. I’m sure you’re thinking that way, too,” he said.
Devere said he supports the idea of opening the campuses to the community when schools are closed.
“If this bond is approved, in the very next meeting, this will be an agenda item for board approval,” he said. “These will be public use facilities because that’s who’s paying for them. There’s no reason the baseball fields should be locked up at three in the afternoon in May or June and not reopened until school starts again tn the fall.”
While all three campuses need work, Huachuca City School needs the most extensive project list.
“I’m glad the board members approved the bond initiative,” said Huachuca City Principal Kevin Beaman, who has been spending the summer patching walls and painting the school’s office area. “We have a long list of renovation projects that are beyond what we can do through general maintenance. Now we have to wait and see how the vote goes in November.”