Facts you need to know about the Farwell Bond Proposal

April 19, 2019

Dear Editor
There are people saying that the Farwell Area School Board of Education did not do their job when researching what should be considered for the upcoming bond proposal on May 7th. As a member of the board, I will attest this is simply false. The Board of Education considered sinking fund, performance contracting and traditional bond options to finance the critical facilities needs of the Farwell Schools.

In the fall of 2018, the Board’s Facilities Committee conducted a comprehensive review. The committee identified $72 million worth of needs for the schools. The Facilities Committee, along with the rest of the Board, knew this was more than the community could afford and through a three-round process trimmed that list down to $24.5 million for the most critical needs.

Ultimately the Board of Education chose a combination of performance contracting and traditional bonds for the planned improvements. The performance contracting component ensures for the district’s taxpayers that the entire cost of the project along with the projected savings from the improvements for the 25 years of the bond will all be guaranteed. This means the school district’s risk for cost over runs or unrealized savings are eliminated. Instead Johnson ControIs, who has been selected for the performance contract, will assume all those risks and will have to fully compensate the district should either or both occur.

The proposed millage renewal and 1 mill increase will change the Farwell debt levy to an average of 2.96 mills for 25 years. Some have questioned the length of the bond and believe it should have been less. If that were to happen we would not raise the amount of money necessary to make the most critical improvements identified by the facilities committee. I would like to see the facilities improved the proper way. I am sure everyone in our district would want our schools to be improved for our students and our staff. Aren’t we tired of the band aids? Let’s make these improvements the right way, the proper way.

I would also like to talk about the sinking fund that was mentioned. A sinking fund would be limited to 10 years at 3 mills. At 3 mills the sinking fund would only generate $13,956,294 for the school district under the best-case scenario. This would mean many of the needed improvements for our schools mentioned in the bond proposal would have to be cut. And, if a sinking fund was utilized the money needed to complete the needed improvements would not be available up front. It would be raised gradually, $1.3 million each year for 10 years. The schools and the district cannot wait 10 years to have enough money to make these improvements. The need is now; the time is now.

Our limited general education dollars should be prioritized on educating our students, not replacing or fixing roofs, outdated boilers, fire alarms and security systems. Saying yes to the May 7th Bond Proposal will help protect the general fund and our student’s education and will allow the district to re-invest the savings into its Capital Outlay Projects Fund to address future facility needs.

Shari Buccilli
Parent, Community Member and Farwell Area Schools Board Trustee

Share This Post

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *