What’s next for the school district after voters rejected its bond measure?

Moffat County School District superintendent Scott Pankow discusses what could lie ahead for a district which still needs capital repairs

Sunset Elementary in Craig.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Proponents of the failed Moffat County School District bond, ballot measure 4A, say they’re going to reevaluate the plan after voters in Moffat County voted down the measure in Tuesday’s election. 4A would have brought in $6 million in matching state funds for capital repairs at the school while raising property taxes in the county for a total collection of $45 million.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Superintendent Scott Pankow said Thursday. “But just because we didn’t win, it doesn’t mean the fixes go away.”

Had 4A passed, Moffat County School District would have used the $45 million to make capital improvements to all buildings across the district. Most of that would have gone to the high school, which was slated to have received around $20 million in improvements and repairs, with the other buildings in the district receiving varying amounts based on need. The original estimate for building renovations was around $100 million, but that was shaved down to create a list of only the most necessary improvements.

Now, the district must rework its plan to cover the costs of the projects that need to be fixed first.

“There are critical repairs, and there are plans for those,” Pankow said. “(That can include) setting aside money for bigger plans.”

Pankow said it is an option to pursue BEST grant funds again, though the plan will likely look different than the measure that voters turned down on Tuesday. It is however still very early in that process to say what exactly it may look like. BEST, which stands for Building Excellent Schools Today, is a state program funded by marijuana sales tax that provides districts with funding to make repairs or to build new schools. BEST grant money requires a match from the community, which would have come from the mill increase voters rejected.

Sandrock Elementary School.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Pankow also said he wasn’t sure what hesitations still lingered for Moffat County residents who voted no, but he and others on school district committees will look into what those concerns about the ballot measure were, and how they can best be addressed if a bond measure were to come up again.

“We appreciate the support we got, and we appreciate the NextGen committee for their work. We just need to fix those needs and those costs,” Pankow said. “We had the highest result that the BEST grant would encourage people to vote yes. We felt we were on the right track for that, so we want to look into that in the future.”

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