SALT LAKE CITY — Canyons School District Superintendent Dave Doty told the Deseret News editorial board on Monday he feels quite confident voters will approve the district's bond proposal June 22.
"I'm really banking on both the teachers and the parents who have really been pushing for this pretty hard to turn the vote out," Doty said, adding he has presented the bond proposal to every city and school in the district and received positive reactions.
The $250 million bond wouldn't mean a tax increase for the district's taxpayers. "Tax payments would remain steady over several years," Doty said. "The bottom line is people's tax rates won't come down. But we're not anticipating they go up."
Doty added the timing for a bond is excellent right now. Construction costs are low, interest rates are down, and "this helps put people back to work."
A recent study of Canyons District facilities shows there are approximately $650 million worth of needed repairs at the schools. The $250 million is the amount the district would be able to obtain without moving beyond the tax rate that would be required to pay the district's debt.
The $250 million "is not an insignificant amount of money," Doty said. "And it gets us down the path on some critical needs."
The funding would mainly be used to renovate and rebuild all middle schools; constructing a secondary school in Draper; and launching a grade reconfiguration plan for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 to better prepare students for college and careers.
Canyons District commissioned a Dan Jones & Associates poll in February. In the poll, which has an error margin of plus or minus 5 percent, Canyons District asked residents if they would be willing to support a tax-rate-neutral bond that would pay for school construction, renovation and school upgrades. Seventy-six percent of the 402 residents polled said they would definitely or probably vote in the affirmative for such a bond proposal.
Tony Romanello, president of the Canyons Education Association, told the Deseret News on Monday the executive board and legislative council of the district teacher's union has voted unanimously to support the bond proposal. The seven-member executive board consists of education representatives, while the legislative council is one or more representatives from each of the district's 47 schools.
"The reality is anyone who understands the condition of our buildings understands the bond is necessary," Romanello said.
The average age of a building in the Canyons is 38 years. Doty said his district inherited the older buildings from the recent district split.
The Jordan District division occurred in July 2009, with the east-side Canyons District breaking from the west side, which remains as Jordan District.