By Eric Jay Toll for The Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Mesa voters will be asked to make up the $109M in capital funds it lost when the Arizona legislature used that money to balance the state’s budget over the past five years. That figure—along with an additional $46.5M—will be used for new buildings, repairs and renovations, and transportation facilities. These three categories comprise the major portion of the $230M voters are being asked to okay November 6th. The remaining $75M will buy technology and buses.
District officials hope local voters place a higher priority on education than has been evident in the Capitol over the past half-decade. The state took over capital budgets for local school districts in 1998. When the economy faltered in 2008, education funds were the first grabbed by the legislature to balance the budget. State schools have had significantly fewer dollars—none in Mesa’s case—for capital improvements since then. The bond, if passed by voters, will cost home owners around $45 per year for each $100K in home value.
Mesa Schools are playing “capital catch-up”
In addition to the school’s $230 million bond election this year, the city has a $70M parks bond requests on the ballot (AZBEX, June 29th). In the case of the old Mesa Junior High School, both the city and school district have funds to demolish the old facility and replacing it with a new public park and recreation center. The school is putting $4M into the joint project.
With the bond passage, $14.5M would go to new buildings at Dobson and Westwood high schools. The bulk of the money, $127M, will go to deferred and critically needed renovations and repairs throughout the district’s 8.6M SF of buildings and 1.5K acres of playfields. Identified targets for the money include:
- Replace old cooling units with energy efficient systems
- Repair aging utility lines located on school properties
- Install energy management systems to control consumption and lower utility costs
- Replace roofs that are aging and rapidly deteriorating
- Replace flooring that is deteriorating
Read more at Mesa Schools