What is a bond?
Similar to homeowners borrowing money in the form of a mortgage, a school district borrows to finance the design, construction, expansion and renovation of school facilities. General obligation bonds carry the lowest possible interest rates and are the least costly form of financing available. Bonds must be approved by voters, and state law prohibits using bond funds for salaries or other on-going expenses. Canyons District’s AAA bond rating ensures that our residents receive the best available interest rates, sparing taxpayers millions of dollars. Rising home values have helped Canyons District pay down its bond debt more quickly than projected, and keep its bonds tax-rate-neutral.
Why is Canyons bonding?
When Canyons District was created, most of the buildings we received from a previous school district were aging and in need of safety upgrades and renovation. With proceeds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010, the District has addressed many top-priority improvement projects. But an estimated $342 million in upgrades remain, according to a recent facilities assessment. To continue momentum in building safe, modern facilities for our students, the Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 endorsed a plan to seek voter approval of a $283 million, tax-rate-neutral bond on the Nov. 7 ballot.
What is the amount of this bond?
The proposed bond is for $283 million, and is tax-rate-neutral, which means it would not increase property taxes. It will be issued in phases over 4-6 years, and each issuance will be paid off over 20 years.
What will the money be used for?
All of the bond money would be used to improve schools. Six schools would be rebuilt, one new school would be constructed to accommodate growth, and one school would be significantly remodeled. In addition, the bond would pay to remodel front offices at six elementary schools and to install windows and skylights for natural lighting at 18 elementary schools.
|Project||Year Opened||Est. Cost|
|Rebuild Brighton High||1969||$87M|
|Rebuild Hillcrest High||1962||$85M|
|Rebuild Union Middle School||1968||$45M|
|Remodel Alta High||1978||$38.5M|
|Rebuild Midvalley Elementary||1957||$20M|
|Rebuild Peruvian Park Elementary||1964||$20M|
|Rebuild a White City-area elementary||$20M|
|Build a West Draper Elementary School||$20M|
|Build classrooms at Corner Canyon High to replace portables||$4.5M|
|*Six elementary office upgrades||$2.7M|
|Eighteen elementary natural lighting upgrades||$3.1M|
*Remodel offices at Brookwood, Granite, Oakdale, Park Lane, Silver Mesa, and Sunrise elementary schools
How will this bond impact property taxes?
The bond will not raise property taxes as the tax rate will remain the same. How is this possible?
1- Growth in new residences and businesses have contributed to rising property values.
2- As old bonds are paid off (primarily those inherited from the former Jordan School District) new bonds will be issued in layers so as not to impact taxpayers.
3-Canyons School District has a AAA bond rating, which is comparable to a perfect personal credit score. This enables the District to borrow at lower interest rates.
Note: If the bond proposal is not successful, taxes would fall $118 a year on a house valued at $373,000 and $215 a year for a business of the same assessed valuation. However, we would be unable to meet the needs of an aging District. Twenty-one of our buildings are over 40 years old with some inching toward the 60-year mark. The average age of the six buildings that would be rebuilt with the bond is 53.
Why don’t you handle upgrades on a pay-as-you-go basis?
The most recent analysis of the District’s school buildings revealed approximately $342 million in seismic and other safety upgrade needs. We don’t have the resources to address those needs while keeping up with ongoing maintenance — and bonding is the least expensive way to get ahead of deferred needs now. Interest rates are rising, and construction costs are rising at an annual average rate of 5 percent.
When will these schools be built, in which order?
The Board of Education has not yet determined the order in which these projects will be undertaken. The Board has stressed that all projects are a priority, and has committed to complete all of them.
How will replacing portables at Corner Canyon High affect enrollment?
The addition of classrooms at Corner Canyon would merely make it possible to move students out of portables and inside the school. Portables are not as energy-efficient as regular classrooms, and they steal precious prep time from teachers who must travel from building to building with all their classroom supplies. Some patrons have asked if redrawing the boundaries for Corner Canyon would alleviate the need for portables. It wouldn’t. It could, however, disrupt the balance of enrollment at CSD's high schools, which as of October stood at: Alta High (2,089); Brighton High (2,019); Corner Canyon High (2,232); Hillcrest High (2,219); Jordan High (2,117). These enrollments are the result of boundary changes that took effect this fall, and which were approved by the Board of Education in 2015 following a yearlong study by a Facilities Committee made up of parents and principals from all parts of Canyons District. The Board approved four of the five Facility Committee recommendations in its vote. The boundary adjustments slowed future growth at Hillcrest and Corner Canyon high schools, boosted enrollment at Alta and Jordan high, and preserved the current rate of enrollment growth at Brighton High. Balanced enrollment maximizes use of taxpayer-financed school buildings and maintains equity in access to academic programs, which are funded in Utah on a per-pupil basis.
Aren't there a lot of out-of-boundary students attending Corner Canyon?
There are currently very few students (a total of 58) attending Corner Canyon on school choice permits. The school is on moratorium status, which means it no longer accepts permits because it doesn’t have the capacity.
Corner Canyon is a fairly new school. Why wasn’t it designed with enough classrooms?
Enrollment projections for Corner Canyon High did not account for students enrolled in neighboring charter schools. Draper has a robust and well-established network of charter schools, and many of the students enrolled at these schools wound up switching to Corner Canyon after it opened in August, 2013. Growth in Draper, which is among the fastest growing areas in Utah, will continue to present planning challenges for the District, which is why the proposed 2017 bond contains money to build a new elementary school in west Draper.
Would students at Alta, Brighton and Hillcrest be bused to a different school during the construction?
No, students would not have to relocate. If the bond is approved, students will be able to stay at their current campuses while their schools were rebuilt and remodeled. Construction would occur in phases so as to minimize disruption. In addition, any recent upgrades to these schools would be preserved.
What are some of the features of the new schools?
Architects won’t begin their design work unless the bond is approved, and only after students, parents, faculty and school staff have had an opportunity to provide input at community meetings. But the new schools will likely have features similar schools that the District has already rebuilt, such as state-of-the-art auditoriums, collaboration spaces, large gymnasiums and fitness areas and classrooms equipped for the high-tech demands the 21st century.
When is the election?
Canyons District’s bond comes up for a vote during the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Here is a list of important voter dates and deadlines:
- OCT. 10 — Last day for mail-in voter registration
- OCT. 16 — Mail-in ballots sent to all voters
- OCT. 23 — Registration deadline for in-person early voting
- OCT. 24 — In-person early voting begins
- OCT. 31 — Last day to register online to vote
- NOV. 3 — In-person early voting ends
- NOV. 7 — Election Day
Link to polling places:
How to vote by mail?
Where can I find more information?
Information is available at every one of our school buildings, as well as at bond.canyonsdistrict.org.
Why isn’t my school on the priorities list?
The Board of Education wanted to maximize bond funds without drastically affecting taxpayers, and to ensure families in all parts of the District would benefit from the facilities-improvement plan. It considered factors including seismic and safety issues, and facility age and condition.