East Grand will ask voters for capital improvements, new elementary school

The East Grand School District wants voter approval to invest $85 million into capital improvements, including the construction of a new Granby Elementary School.

At the Aug. 17 school board meeting, members voted 4-1 to approve a ballot question asking for the district’s debt to be increased by $85 million with a repayment cost of up to $159.5 million. Vice President Angel Higginbotham dissented.

To finance the bond, district taxes will increase up to $7.1 million annually for the next 20 years. That means an individual homeowner would pay $44.48 more in taxes yearly per $100,000 of value, while commercial properties would pay $180.42 more.

The bond money would be dedicated toward the capital projects outlined in the ballot question, including land acquisition and a new Granby Elementary School with room for future growth. East Grand Superintendent Frank Reeves has previously stated that Granby Elementary has reached its capacity and has no space for any additional classes.

The bond would not only finance the new elementary school. The money would also be used for upgrades toward safety, security and America with Disabilities Act compliant upgrades, physical improvements and renovations at the other three schools, a facility for new career and technical skills program, and a space for student mental health counseling and school nurse services.

In a related but separate action at the same meeting, the board approved entering a lease to own purchase agreement on land that could house the new elementary school. Pending legal review, the board approved the lease in a 3-2 vote with Higginbotham and Trevor Corbin dissenting.

The parcel is known as Reclamation Ridge Lot 2 and sits next to East Grand Middle School. The lease is $3,000 a month for a year with an option to purchase the 21 acres at any time for $1.25 million, and the lease payments go toward the purchase price.

Until the bond passes, the district will pay for the lease through capital reserve funds. If the bond does not pass, the board plans to revisit the lease, which the district can withdraw from at any time.

The district has not yet officially entered the lease because soil samples are still pending to ensure the viability of the parcel. In June, East Grand went under contract for a different parcel until further review of funding sources forced the district to withdraw from the deal.

East Grand got approval from voters last November to raise the district’s mill levy. That was different than the question going to voters this November because the 2020 measure can only be applied toward teacher and staff pay.

That measure added $1 million to district wages and passed with more than 60% of voters in favor. Teachers and staff saw a 15% pay raise for the 2021-22 school year thanks to the tax increase.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.