$6.4m matching BEST Grant awaiting MCSD should voters pass $40m bond in November
Should Moffat County School District voters pass a $40 million bond measure this fall, the state will match a portion of that funding.
A BEST Grant, which stands for Building Excellent Schools Today, in the amount of $6.4 million is a formality away from being officially awarded to MCSD, said superintendent Scott Pankow. While the state school board must still approve it, the board responsible for selecting applicants has chosen the district to receive the matching grant.
“We did a survey several weeks ago of voters asking, if the district was awarded a BEST Grant, what would your positivity rate for voting yes on the bond be?” Pankow said. “That number rose to 67%. That’s people saying if we got $6.4 million, they would definitely help them out passing the bond and going for it. We’re excited about that.”
The money isn’t awarded to the district if the bond doesn’t pass, Pankow said.
“Have to pass the bond to get the money,” he said. “If you don’t pass it, the $6.4 million goes away.”
Pankow, who is just barely into his second calendar year as MCSD superintendent, said that the bond is necessary for critical repairs and upgrades that would, he said, extend the district’s seven buildings for another generation at least.
“(Americans with Disabilities Act) upgrades are needed, and we’re looking at different safety and security measures,” Pankow said. “That’s very important for our buildings. The repairs, we’re talking about roofs and windows and drainage. The freeze-thaw environment wears and tears on the buildings, crumbles the foundation. That and security stuff — putting a new entry vestibule at Sandrock, for example — that’s a lot of the $40 million.”
MCSD voters last passed a bond in 2007. That was for $29.5 to build a new Craig Middle School.
The district, which educates more than 2,000 students, is hoping to earn voters’ trust to keep their current buildings in good shape.
“You know, Hayden did a brand-new school built around an existing, that was $67 million. Meeker’s was in the $60 millions,” Pankow said. “Grand Juncton, they’re building a new high school and they went for $120 million, just one school. Looking at cost per square foot for repairs, this is much lower than what you can build new.”
Pankow gave credit to his staff, including finance director John Wall and maintenance director Jarrod Ogden for their work writing the grant proposal.
“And kudos to our maintenance staff, as well,” Pankow said. “They keep the buildings up as well as possible, but it’s hard to get ahead. Projects, things happen, infrastructure issues. It’s tough. This will help”
Pankow didn’t want to imagine a world where there bond didn’t pass.
“We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it, and hopefully we don’t,” he said. “The voters will hopefully see the importance of this and get behind it and support it.”
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