Over the past year, Cabell County Schools has been working with community stakeholders to develop a new, ten-year Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan (CEFP). Because of that extensive input process, the district has identified its most pressing facility needs and the Board of Education has approved a school bond special election to take place Saturday, August 22, 2020. Early voting will begin Saturday, August 8.
“After talking with hundreds of individuals, business owners and economic development officials, we believe now is exactly the right time to conduct a school bond election,” says Ryan Saxe, Superintendent of Cabell County Schools. “Even though our communities have sadly experienced economic pain during the COVID-19 pandemic, our leaders are telling us they strongly believe a school bond could play a vital role in our total recovery effort. Also, because interest rates are expected to remain low for some time, we may be able to address more of our schools’ needs than we might if interest rates were higher.”
Superintendent Saxe says the district’s bond order includes no school consolidations and is focused instead on replacing outdated facilities; improving school safety for students and staff; addressing major maintenance concerns; and modernizing and expanding Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.
“In addition to employment created addressing our facility needs, the bond would also help us provide the appropriate space to offer more CTE job training for both high school and adult students. Numerous people in our region have lost wages or employment during the health crisis, and some career pathways have narrowed for both traditional high school and college graduates. We have been working closely with local economic development officials and individual employers to identify their needs for expanded workforce training. As a result of these conversations, we are finding there are many high-paying job opportunities for graduates with appropriate training right here in the region.”
The school bond being placed on the ballot for voter consideration includes the following projects:
• Meadows Elementary – A new, replacement facility built on the current site or relocated to a new site.
• Davis Creek Elementary – A new, replacement facility relocated to a new site.
• Milton Elementary – A new, replacement facility on the existing site or a nearby site owned by the Board of Education.
• Nichols Elementary – Renovations including, but not limited to, a safe school entrance, sprinkler system, new windows, doors, roof, and HVAC.
• Hite Saunders Elementary – Renovations including, but not limited to, a sprinkler system, new windows, doors, roof, and HVAC.
• Cabell Midland High School - Renovations including, but not limited to, safe school entrances.
• Huntington High School – Renovations including, but not limited to, safe school entrances.
• Cabell County Career Technology Center - Extensive renovations and expansion at the current site, or relocation of the center to a new site. Creation of spaces for additional CTE program offerings.
If approved by voters, the 2020 school bond would be a replacement of a bond approved in 2006. The 2006 bond will be retired in early 2021. The new bond will not take effect until the previous 2006 bond is retired.
The total school bond amount to be considered by voters is $87.5 million. With additional expenditures from local district funds and anticipated contributions from the West Virginia School Building Authority, it is estimated the total direct investment into the Cabell County economy could be approximately $107,200,000.
Based upon today’s market, if the bonds were sold at 2.5%, a Class II property owner could expect to pay approximately $6.29 per month or approximately $75.48 annually on a home valued at $100,000. Class II property owners with a homestead exemption could expect to pay approximately $4.19 per month or approximately $50.32 annually on a home valued at $100,000.
At the highest possible bond rate, a Class II property owner could expect to pay approximately $7.50 per month or approximately $90.00 per year on a home valued at $100,000. Class II property owners with a homestead exemption could expect to pay approximately $5.00 per month or approximately $60.00 annually on a home valued at $100,000.