Comeau Pushes School Bond Package
Anchorage voters are tough on school bonds
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage voters have been tough on bonds for school projects in recent years.
But in next month's municipal election, school district officials believe they have a winning proposal.
Superintendent Carol Comeau made her pitch today to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, which thus far has not taken a position on Proposition 1.
Comeau says the $59 million package is clearly defensible, especially given how much the state will reimburse the district.
She says the school administration and the school board have heard the voters.
After two proposals to renovate Service High School have been voted down in recent years, the version that will appear on the April 3 ballot has been scaled back.
"This package does not include the auditorium. The scope of the project was reduced. We listened to the voters, we down-sized the project. This will truly complete the classroom renovations, the special ed area, the library and media center and upgrades to the cafeteria and the gym."
Comeau emphasized the projects in the proposed bond issue are eligible for reimbursement from the legislature, at rates of 60 percent and 70 percent.
"I think their track record, through thick and thin, through $9 a barrel oil all the way up to what it is today, have always supported the debt reimbursement obligations, and we don't have any reason to believe that won't continue."
Comeau says that means a property tax increase of less than $21 a year on a home worth $315,000.
And Don Smith, a fiscal conservative on the school board, encourages voters to go through the projects on the district's website.
"I think voters if they look at it would see that I think we're being very, very careful; we're not pushing anything exotic at all. It's pretty much meat and potatoes."
In four weeks, the district gets its pass or fail grade.
Included in the bond package is almost $15 million for a career and technical education center that would serve the joint campus for West High School and Romig Middle School.
Comeau said while the district strives to make every student ready for college, she recognizes not everyone is on that path.