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Board OKs tax hike question

January 12, 2019

BRADLEY — The Bradley Elementary school board on Thursday voted to put a tax increase referendum on the April 2 ballot. It would pay for air conditioning in every classroom at the district’s three schools.

With the tax hike, the owner of a $100,000 house would pay an additional $103 per year in annual property taxes and an owner of a $150,000 house would pay $166 more, according to the district.

Besides the air conditioning, the money would pay to replace single-pane windows and upgrade electrical systems.

If the referendum passes, the district would borrow $10 million. The bonds for the projects would last 20 years.

The district says the schools need air conditioning because “intolerable” temperatures have interrupted school eight times in the last two years.

Throughout the last five years, Bradley schools have experienced an average of 55 scheduled school days with high temperatures more than 80 degrees, or about a third of the school year, according to the district.

The interior of the buildings, with all the staff, faculty and students inside, far exceeds exterior temperatures, the district says.

If the referendum is approved, some of the projects could start as early as this summer. The last projects could begin in summer 2020.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Scott Goselin said if the bid comes in less than $10 million, the district can give back the remainder to taxpayers.

“If it’s close and you want to use the rest for building (projects) such as a roof or parking lot, you can do that,” Goselin said.

Board member Phil Trudeau said if the bid is less, then he would want to give the money to taxpayers, not add more projects.

“If we have a few extra bucks, we shouldn’t repave the parking lot. I don’t want a false premise that we’re dealing under the table,” he said.

He also wondered whether the added taxes go away automatically after 20 years.

Board president Terrie Golwitzer said that would be the current board’s intention. But it would be up to the board in 20 years to decide whether the tax rate should drop.

The board unanimously approved the tax increase referendum. Member Dan Wilder was absent.

Bradley Elementary’s newest school is Bradley West, built in 1958. Bradley Central and Bradley East were constructed in 1926 and 1952, respectively.

The school district says it currently owes $2.8 million in bonds, which will be paid through 2028.

A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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