School district gears up for bond campaign
As Craig inches toward November’s Election Day, the Moffat County School District’s board of education is gearing up campaigns to support a bond proposal that will give millions of dollars to the school district.
At this month’s board workshop, board members discussed several ways in which the campaign will continue throughout the days leading up to Nov. 2. Chris Thome, the District E representative, said that radio campaign spots and a political campaign piece that will appear in the Craig Press were ready to go. Flyers will also be sent to registered voters’ addresses closer to the election.
School district money is not being used to fund the bond’s campaign.
“We have donations that come to the campaign that are paying for the radio advertisements, the print advertising, etcetera,” Thome said.
In October, the district will host school board candidates at a candidates forum, and the bond could potentially be a topic at that forum. In conversations with the Craig Press, multiple candidates mentioned their focuses being on the bond. Other potential strategies mentioned at Thursday’s workshop included phonebanking and door-to-door canvassing.
In November, Moffat County residents will go to the polls to either approve or deny the bond, which will trigger about $6 million in grant funds from the state as well as raising property taxes locally in order to cover a total of $45 million in repairs across the school district. These repairs include electrical maintenance, new paint, improvements for drainage and sewage and new windows, as well as security and accessibility upgrades.
According to the documents published on the MCSD’s website, over $21 million will go to Moffat County High School, with the rest being distributed between the middle school and the elementary schools. Though the district did receive COVID-19 relief funds, that money can only go to direct costs created by the pandemic (testing, cleaning, etc.) and to pay salaries to keep staff employed. It can not be used for capital repairs, like improvements to buildings.
Moffat County residents have not approved a bond like this since 2007, and MCSD will make final payments off of that bond in December of 2028. The district has also published a survey conducted by a third-party company showing that, in April, 50% of survey takers were in support of a tax increase to make the repairs. 40% were opposed and 10% were undecided.
In the survey’s findings, Magellan Strategies — which conducted the survey — said that there was a “lack of trust” among some voters when it comes to the district using taxpayer money. The survey says that MCSD’s fiscal reputation is “not horrible but it could be improved.”
“Other than the BEST Grant matching funds message, the strongest messages that moved voters toward supporting the bond measure describe school building improvements that are easy to understand such as new asphalt, concrete, drainage repairs, roofing, electrical and mechanical infrastructure,” the survey read, before continuing with a suggestion. “Therefore, keep the focus of the bond on addressing those necessary and critical needs.”
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