Bond Vote for Schools

Bond Vote for Schools

Voters will decide whether to support $92.6 million in bonds to support renovations, construction and land acquisitions.

Loudoun voters will be asked to support $92,605,000 in school renovations, construction and land acquisitions.

The Nov. 2 ballot asks voters to authorize the county to approve obligation bonds to finance:

* Construction of the Brambleton Area Elementary School at a cost of $12,935,000.

* Construction of the Ashburn/Dulles Middle School at $25,445,000.

* For renovations to existing middle schools at $31,625,000.

* For the renovation and addition to the existing Loudoun County High School at $10,055,00.

* And to buy land for two future elementary schools and two middle schools at $12,545,000.

The need for more schools, land and renovations is based on the county’s rapid growth, said John Andrews, School Board chairman, on Monday. “We keep growing by 3,000 students a year,” he said. “We are number one in growth in the state of Virginia. In the next 10 years, 25 percent of all students in the state are going to be here in Loudoun.”

RENOVATIONS are slated for Blue Ridge, J. Lupton Simpson, Seneca and Sterling middle schools and Loudoun County High School. Dozens of teachers, administrators and parents testified at School Board budget hearings last spring in favor of the renovations.

Sam Adamo, director of Planning and Legislative Services, said enrollment rose from 19,967 students in 1995 to 44,011 this year. It is projected to increase to 49,059 next year, school officials said.

The school district opened one new elementary and two middle schools this year. It built 23 new schools in the past five years, and another 16 are slated for construction in the next six years.

More than 25,000 new students are expected to enroll in county schools by the school year 2009-2010.

Superintendent Edgar Hatrick said new schools and renovations are needed to serve new students and those who are already here. The renovations provide parity with the newer facilities, he said.

IF THE BONDS carry a 4 percent annual interest, the average yearly cost to repay the bonds would range from $18.48 for a homeowner with a property assessed at $100,000 to $60.81 for a homeowner with property assessed at $329,100, according to data released by the Loudoun County Government Financial Services Office.

Andrews defended the need for higher taxes. “Quality education has a direct correlation to people’s direct value of their property and their homes and the quality of their community,” he said. “You start busing students or start putting trailers around schools, I would argue that … it is going to make it less desirable when somebody is trying to buy your home.”

Andrews, speaking from the viewpoint of a parent, said he would be concerned if his children attended overcrowded classrooms or trailers.

General obligation bonds are sold with a 20-year repayment schedule for construction projects. With that plan, people moving into Loudoun will help pay for the schools needed to meet the growing population.