Bond Q&A - 11.2.17

Q: Why is a new school being proposed to replace Hutchinson School?

A: In addition to the necessary façade/building envelope replacement, the Board identified a number of needs regarding capacity, safety and implementing our instructional program. Over the course of three months, the Board weighed 7 options for a building extension/renovation in addition to the concept of a new school. After a robust decision-analysis process, the new school emerged as the best option to solve the needs at Hutchinson in the short and long-term.

Q: What factors led to the determination that a new school was the best option for Hutchinson?

A: The new school, if approved, will alleviate the need to have students in the suboptimal basement-level classes, create permanent classrooms to replace the portables, provide adequate space for our related services, such as reading, academic intervention, and speech, and allow the most flexibility to solve capacity issues at the building and District level. In considering the safety of our students, a new school was the only option that would solve the challenging layout of the current building and the only one that would bring the school up to modern fire, building and safety standards. It is also the best and most cost-effective way to provide 21st Century Learning spaces that fit the goals of our Strategic Plan. The Board held a rigorous debate as to which option provided the best stewardship of the District’s assets. In the end, the decision making analysis pointed toward a new school as the best plan to address each of the major issues identified at Hutchinson School for the foreseeable future at an annual cost that was comparable to similarly sized renovation options.

Q: Where would the new school go and when would it be built?

A: The Board has been shown three possible locations for the new school on the current Hutchinson property: near the rock outcropping by the portables, Hutchinson Field, and the lower playground near the shopping center between Lincoln and Second avenues. Concepts for a new school are preliminary and design details will be determined with input from the community. Provided the bond is approved in the spring, the estimated timeline for the completion of a new building is 3-5 years during which students would remain in the current Hutchinson School.

Q: What else will be included in the bond proposal?

A: The Board has been reviewing needs across the District related to capacity, infrastructure and athletic facilities. The Board is targeting Dec. 5 to present its final bond scope proposal for a referendum in the spring of 2018, but is also working to develop a strategic facilities plan to address capital improvements over time.

Q: How will this affect my taxes?

A: The exact details on tax implications can not be known until the full scope of bond work is determined. The Board is working with Capital Markets Advisors to help project the financial impact of the bond and maximize the amount of state building aid we receive. The new school at Hutchinson is likely to add about $1.9 million in annual debt service over 30 years. This translates to about a $480 increase to the taxpayer based on the average assessed home value of $810,000.