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West Valley voters OK school bond

by Hilary Matheson Daily Inter Lake
| October 23, 2013 10:14 AM

West Valley voters approved a $6.8 million school bond issue to expand the school Tuesday by a vote of 662 to 515.

About half of West Valley’s School District’s 2,336 registered voters participated in the mail-ballot election.

The district will move forward with plans to finalize a 30,000 square  foot addition that includes construction of 15 classrooms, a library annex, multi-use areas, auxiliary gym and, if money is left over, a kitchen renovation.

Superintendent Cal Ketchum said the next step is to hire architectural and engineering firms to draw out a final plan.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Ketchum said. “A lot of people were working really hard to get the word out there and it paid off.”

Enrollment growth has exceeded the school building’s practical capacity of 470 for at least the past two years and shows no signs of stopping. In September, the building housed 544 students and 58 staff members.

Owners of a home with a value of $200,000 can expect their taxes to go up $154.28 annually. Owners of a home valued at $300,000 could see taxes go up $231.42 a year.

Phasing in property values will lessen the impact of property tax increases. Homeowners who experience a higher property appraisal will have it phased in over six years. A decrease in property value, however, means that a reappraisal goes into effect immediately, according to www.revenue.gov.

Taxpayer impact might also be lessened when the district retires $1.9 million in bonds from the year 2000 that paid for a gym, library and six classrooms.

When the $1.9 million is retired in the 2014-15 fiscal year, owners of a home with a value of $200,000 could expect a net increase over what they are paying in taxes today of just $95.52 annually starting in 2015. Owners of a home valued at $300,000 could expect a net increase in annual taxes of $143.28.

The last time West Valley School District went out for a bond issue was in 2010 when voters rejected a $3.5 million bond request to build an 18,000-square-foot addition.