After getting positive results from a survey of Carroll district parents, employees and community members, officials will continue making plans to propose a $208 million bond election for the May ballot.
An online survey conducted the first two weeks in December drew 1,165 responses, with 671 of those Carroll taxpayers. Some 78 percent of the respondents are parents with children in Carroll schools. Some 79 percent said they would support a $208 million bond package as long as the local tax rate doesn’t increase. Another 15 percent said they needed more information.
“The facility planning survey gives us a lot of great information as we move forward,” said Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations.
Thannum presented results at the Jan. 9 school board meeting. To have a May bond election, trustees must call the election by Feb. 17.
The survey showed strong support (88 percent) for classroom additions and building expansions at the elementary level to deal with enrollment growth.
Based on comments she read, Thannum said there were some respondents who believed district officials were caught off guard by growth, but demographic projections have been quite accurate. They want new facilities to follow growth.
“We don’t want to build facilities and have them sitting empty and unused,” Thannum said.
There also were some misconceptions about Robin Hood and the requirement for Carroll, as a property wealthy district, to send a portion of district tax revenue back to the state.
For 2016, Carroll officials sent about $19 million in tax revenues for daily operations back to the state. The district gets to keep everything raised by the tax rate for bonds. Officials can raise $208 million without raising the current bond tax rate of 35 cents, based on current growth projections.
Thannum said respondents’ support for improvements to the district’s technology infrastructure and devices has increased since the last bond election in 2009 because of a better understanding about the use of technology in the classroom.
District officials have plans to propose the calling of a May bond election at Carroll’s Feb. 9 board meeting. Trustees said the responses were encouraging while showing a few areas where residents need more information.
“I don’t think we could have asked for better results,” Board President Chris Archer said.
For more information on the bond planning process, visit carrollbudget.com.