Dear Douglas County Residents,
Thank you all for your genuine support of the students and community of Douglas County School District (DCSD). I realize there have been many discussions regarding the capital needs in DCSD; I wanted to contact you about some very important issues related to these discussions and ask for your help.
My professional background includes 20 years of experience in public entity accounting, finance and auditing (including school districts), and providing consultation to large governmental entities focused on accountability while providing exceptional customer services. I recently attended one of the many Master Capital Plan information sessions that DCSD is conducting and was alarmed to hear that the district has identified $275 million of total capital needs, an amount that continues to grow annually by $25 to $30 million. After researching these needs, I pinpointed some concerns that I would like to share with you:
- According to the most recent Fitch Report, “The district’s overall debt burden is moderately high” and “The recent lack of voter support for both operating overrides and capital borrowing is a concern and generates pressure on both operations and facility planning” meaning it would be unwise for the district to continue borrowing additional funds to cover its growing capital needs in lieu of a bond.
- In 2013-14, at least $16 million was spent on capital projects without a capital-related funding source. In other words, the district has been diverting funds from the school funding for operations to pay for what a bond should be funding.
- If a bond is not passed in 2015, the critical needs will continue and the impact to schools’ site based budgets (SBB) could be huge. At a recent public meeting, the district’s Chief Financial Officer estimated that an additional 11% of Per Pupil Revenue may need to be reallocated to meet the district’s capital needs. That equates to a $741 annual per student impact directly to schools, with an average impact of $370,500 per year at each elementary school (500 students), $741,000 at each middle school (1,000 students) and $1,482,000 at each high school (2,000 students).
While many of us in the community have valid concerns regarding the spending practices of the current leadership, we cannot allow our students and staff to suffer even more. I am asking you to put aside your differences with our Board of Education for a moment and come together to encourage our Board members to include a bond question on the 2015 ballot. Then we must work to inform our community of the importance of passing this bond by helping them understand the irreversible consequences of not funding the capital needs in a district with aging buildings. We must join forces for the good of our community. DCSD is currently requesting feedback through mid-February from the community on how to solve the funding needs detailed in the Master Capital Plan. Please share your ideas and let them know that you believe in the right of the VOTERS to determine the fate of our school district’s capital needs. Click below to tell our district that we NEED a bond initiative on the 2015 ballot so that voters can decide for themselves the fate of our district.
[standout-css3-button href=”https://www.dcsdk12.org/board-of-education/feedback-wanted-on-master-capital-plan”]CLICK HERE TO GIVE FEEEDBACK
this will take you to a page on the dcsd website[/standout-css3-button]