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Bond Issue 2008

"This Is Parkway" Digital Magazine

Bond Issue 2008 - Proposition S

Information and FAQs

In the spring of 2008, several hundred Parkway residents participated in a series of town hall meetings to discuss the ongoing maintenance and repair needs of our school buildings. Participants were asked to share ideas, provide input and discuss priorities for future school repair and renovation projects and a possible bond issue.

Based on their recommendations and input from facilities and school staff, the Parkway Board of Education voted unanimously to place an $87 million zero-tax-rate-increase bond issue on the November 4 ballot. If approved, the bond issue would not require an increase to the local tax rate.

The six major areas of need identified in the town hall meetings include:

  1. School Maintenance and Repairs
  2. High School Science Labs
  3. Technology
  4. Elementary Classroom Walls
  5. Safety, Security and Health
  6. Fine Arts

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the bond issue. For more information, Email the Parkway Public Affairs Department or call us at (314) 415-8082.

FAQ Printer Friendly Version (Adobe PDF File)

Q: What is a bond issue?
A: A bond issue is a traditional way for schools to borrow money to pay for capital projects such as replacing old roofs or HVAC units. In Missouri this requires voter approval even if - the bond issue will not increase the tax rate (like this one).

Q: How does a bond issue work?
A: When voters approve/pass a bond issue, our school district obtains bids and sells bonds to the purchaser who offers the lowest interest rate. The district uses the funds to complete the capital projects, and pays back the debt over time - typically around 10-12 years. This process is similar to a home loan. When you purchase a home, you borrow money at a specific interest rate. You make payments on that loan, which include principal and interest, over a period of years. A certain amount of your regular income is budgeted to make those payments.

Q: How can we do this without increasing the tax rate?
A: Each year, the district pays off old debt from previous bond issues. As our loan balance decreases, we are able to borrow more money and pay it back from existing revenue sources.

Q: How do schools use bond issues to benefit students?
A: Bond issues allow schools to pay for costly repairs and renovation over time instead of having to pay all at once. It also allows schools to devote most of their day-to-day operating budgets for classroom instruction instead of major repair work.

Q: How would the funds be used?
A: Each year for the next five years (2009-2013), funds would be allocated as shown on pages 2-4. The six major categories of need identified include: General maintenance and repairs; high school science labs; safety, security and health; elementary classroom walls; technology; and fine arts.

Q: Can the funds be used in any other way?
A: No. The money from bond issues can only be used for capital expenditures such as major maintenance, repair, renovation and certain technology costs. Bond funds may not be used for operating expenses such as salaries and benefits, transportation costs, utilities, textbooks or other supplies.

Q: Why is this bond issue needed?
A: Parkway has more than 3 million square feet of facilities with a replacement value of more than $800 million. These buildings are well-constructed, but require ongoing maintenance, repair and renovation just like our homes. The district has a responsibility to ensure these facilities are properly maintained for future generations of students.

Q: How old is the average Parkway school?
A: 40 years. Most Parkway schools were built between 1963 and 1971. In fact, of the 29 schools currently in operation (including the Early Childhood Center):

  • 16 are between 40 and 70 years old;
  • 11 are between 30 and 39 years old; and
  • 2 are less than 30 years old.

Q: How much debt does Parkway have?
A: Parkway has been fiscally conservative and currently only has 2.29 percent of its assessed value in debt. The state allows school districts to borrow up to 15 percent of their assessed value.

Q: When was the last Parkway bond issue?
A: 2004. Those projects began in the summer of 2004 and were completed as scheduled this past summer (five-year period). Ninety percent of the money was devoted to building maintenance and repair, and 10 percent was earmarked for computers and technology. A complete list of projects from the 2004 bond issue is available here or by calling the Parkway Public Affairs Department at (314) 415-8082.

Q: If the bond issue does not pass, will our tax rate go down?
A: Not for several years. As old bonds continue to be paid off, however, the tax rate would eventually be reduced unless voters approved another bond issue.

Q: What would happen if it does not pass?
A: Some maintenance and repair work would have to be deferred and most school renovation projects would be postponed indefinitely. Our schools would continue to fall behind in terms of facilities, technology and relevance for today's students. The most critical maintenance and repair needs would still have to be addressed. To pay for this, more money would have to be spent from the day-to-day operating budget (the part that normally pays for classroom instruction and supplies).

Q: What is the difference between a bond issue and a tax levy proposal?
A: A bond issue is used when a school district wants to borrow money for major school repairs or to purchase large amounts of equipment. This loan is paid off over time using funds that can only be used for the purpose of paying off debt. An operating tax levy (such as Prop R in 2006) provides funding for the ongoing day-to-day operations of our schools, such as paying staff and educating students. To see a complete list of how the Prop R funds are being used to benefit students, go to www.pwky.k12.mo.us/propR/.