Frequently Asked Questions
1-What is a bond?
A bond is a low-interest loan school districts use to pay for new school construction, new school property, reconstruction and renovations. It’s similar to a home loan or mortgage and just like homeowners, the district borrows money and makes monthly payments. It generally takes 15-20 years to pay off the bond. Bonding requires approval of local taxpayers through an election.
Bonding is the most cost effective option for taxpayers to build school buildings. Tax payments for a bond typically decrease each year as the bond debt is paid off.
2-Why does South Summit School District need a bond?
Rapid Growth: South Summit School District (SSSD) has grown 16% in the past ten years and significantly (3.93%) during the 2016-17 school year. School enrollments are reaching building capacity in all three schools. Studies show that the homes that have already been presented to the planning commission(s) within the school district boundaries is projected to increase the student population in just five years to 142% of capacity at the high school. The middle school projection is 124% of capacity and the elementary school projects to be 134% of capacity. Extending that projection out another five years shows the high school population at 168% of capacity, with the middle school growing to 155% and the elementary school at 154% of capacity.
Campus Size: There are some concerns to be able to continue to keep a campus that houses all schools on contiguous property. The recommended size for a high school campus is 40 acres, 15-20 for middle school and 8-12 for an elementary school. Our current campus (three schools, aquatic & fitness center and bus garage) is 40 acres, which is well below the recommended 70 acres for three schools. We are very aware that the current campus does not provide adequate parking for students and many of the extra-curricular activities that happen at the high school and that there are very legitimate concerns with student safety crossing the street and entering/exiting the building before and after school. Elementary classrooms have no room to put even an additional desk. The outside square space per student doesn’t meet the minimum suggested targets for school safety at the middle or elementary schools for playground space. Hall passing space in the middle school is similar to California rush hour traffic and certainly the design of the high school gyms in the middle of the facility does not accommodate shutting off the rest of the school to the public during non-school hours.
Age of Buildings: District buildings have been maintained well; however, they are aging and in order to preserve them for future students there are renovations that need to happen and have been prioritized over the next five years. We are anticipating some of these could be covered from the current capital budget, but not all of them. The Board of Education is committed to maximizing the amazing resources we have available, but recognizing that we must be prepared and have a footprint and solid plan for growth.
3-What is the total cost of the bond?
4-What will it cost me, the taxpayer?
$95.81/year per $100,000 of property value ($297.02/year for a $310,000 home)
$7.98/month per $100,000 of property value ($24.75/month for a $310,000 home)
$174.21/year per $100,000 of business property value ($540.04/year for $310,000 business)
$14.52/month per $100,000 of taxable business property value ($174.24/year for $310,000 business)
5-How long will it take to pay off the bond?
The proposed will bond will be paid off over a 20 year timeline. Tax payments on the proposed bond will decrease each year as interest and principal payments are spread over a larger tax base due to additional homes and businesses added to the community.
6-What if my property is on the greenbelt?
Please click here to view the tax impact on farmland.
7-What exactly will the money be used for?
Of the $58.65 million, it is estimated that $57 million will be used to build a new high school. The remainder (in addition to current and future capital reserves) will be used to repair/renovate priority one existing buildings. (click here for list of priorities)
8-What will happen if the bond doesn’t pass?
If the bond doesn’t pass our options would be to add more portable classrooms to the schools and most likely implement a year-round school schedule.
9-Where will the new school be located?
The District has property (150 acres) on the West side of Kamas. The main access to the campus would be off HWY 248. The feedback from community members has been strongly favorable in keeping the high school in Kamas.
10-What is the estimated timeline?
- August 2017: Board votes on resolution to add bond to November election
- September 2017: Silver Summit Academy opens
- November 2017: Public Votes (Mail-in Ballot Election)
- May 2018-December 2018: Phase I repairs on buildings
- Spring 2018: Break ground on new high school
- Fall 2020: Open new high school
11-When is the last time SSSD passed a general obligation bond?
The last time SSSD passed a general obligation bond was in 1988 when the current high school was built. South Summit has a rich heritage of being proactive and responsibly planning for growth rather than being reactive, which is the case of many school districts. We have been fortunate during a certain time period to have revenue from oil found within the boundaries of our District, which helped the us build and remodel facilities without burdening the taxpayers.
12-What has SSSD done to delay the need for a bond?
Responsible District planning had the foresight to build additional classroom wings onto the Middle School using capital money. The District has also been securing land for future buildings when the right opportunities presented themselves. Decisions such as these have allowed us to manage growth in schools through grade realignments to delay the need for building new schools as long as possible.
13-Why are we building a new high school instead of two new elementary schools?
After touring each building extensively, Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects put together an intensive spreadsheet that prioritizes every recommended repair/renovation and the estimated costs associated with each project (click here for list of priorities). Additionally, NWLA developed a conservative, estimated timeline of expected growth within the district based on housing projects that have already been approved by planning commissions within the district. With that information in hand, the master planning committee asked for cost estimates on two options: Option 1) Build two new elementary schools on district-owned property in Francis and Oakley ($55 million). We would demolish the current elementary and add on to the middle school, converting both properties into a high school. Turn the existing high school building into a middle school. Option 2) Build a new comprehensive 9-12 high school within Kamas City. ($58 million) Realign the rest of the grades within the existing buildings and complete recommended repairs/renovations in order of priorities suggested by NWLA. Certainly these repairs are more than a bandaid, but will extend the life of the buildings and save money for our tax payers in the long run.The District does not plan to tear down any buildings and we are seeking funds to extend the life of all of our current buildings. The population has grown to the point that we need an additional school. All four schools will be used.
The master planning committee ultimately recommended Option 2 to the school board as it determined moving to a four level school district would help spread out the student population among four buildings instead of three. The school board subsequently unanimously passed a resolution to include a general obligation bond on this November's election.
Currently, South Summit is a three level district. It has elementary, middle and high school levels. The elementary school serves Pre-K through fourth grade students. The middle school has fifth through eighth grades and the high school serves grades nine through twelve. In addition, The Silver Summit Academy serves students from Kindergarten through 12th grade on the western edge of the school district. Option 1 relieves the overcrowding only in the bottom two levels. The high school would not receive any help to solve their growth problem. By building a new, larger high school and moving to a four level district, the student population can more effectively be balanced between buildings for a longer period of time, thus keeping taxes lower in the long run.
The proposal would be to move to a four level district with elementary, intermediate, middle and high school levels. The elementary school would serve Pre-K through second grade, the current middle school would become an intermediate school with grades three through five, the current high school would become a middle school with grades six, seven and eight, and a new comprehensive high school would be built to serve grades nine through twelve. The Silver Summit Academy would continue to serve grades K through 12. Utilizing four buildings in this way would provide space enough to meet current needs as well as the expected growth for the next decade.
In addition, 82% of survey respondents favored the addition of a new high school with 18% preferring to add an elementary school.
14-What about the football field?
While it is true that South Summit has a modern football facility, the overall athletic facilities as they now stand are very limited. There is a constant struggle for field access to practice and to hold games. Football has three teams, Freshman, JV and Varsity and Soccer has two teams, JV and Varsity, and all five of these teams want to use the field at the same time. The overall athletic facilities as they now stand are very limited. The plan would be to use the current facility for high school overflow, middle school physical education courses and South Summit Aquatic and Fitness Center activities. We would then build a comprehensive high school with facilities for all sports, including a new football stadium. Currently, in addition to the challenges of getting access to the football field, South Summit has no softball facility and the current baseball field is inadequate.
15-Are we building an indoor football field and field house?
There has never been a plan for an indoor football stadium. The hope will be to have a comprehensive campus which includes fields, but nothing more than what you will find at any other new high school campus in Utah. Good quality, but nothing unreasonable or more expensive than needed to provide quality programming. We recognize that we may not have the funds needed to complete the comprehensive high school as we had first hoped. It's possible that we will take a tiered approach and build the school building itself and add athletic spaces at a later time.
16-What will the grade realignment be if the bond passes and a new high school is built?
- The current elementary school would become a preschool through second grade school. (Pre K-2)
- The current middle school would become a third through fifth grade school. (3-5)
The physical location of the two schools facilitates a comprehensive elementary campus.
- The current high school would become a sixth through eighth grade school. (6-8)
- The new high school would support students in ninth through twelfth grades. (9-12)
- Silver Summit Academy will continue to serve Kindergarten through twelfth grades. (K-12)
17-Are we going to outgrow the high school before we even move into it?
The new high school will be built on land with plenty of room for growth in the coming years. We will build it specifically with the intent to add on in the future. The district began the master planning process with the end in mind. We believe, based on current growth projections, that the new high school will be the first phase that will be needed in South Summit School District. We anticipate that phases 2 and 3 will come later, which may include elementary schools in Francis, Oakley and Silver Creek, and schools in the Browns Canyon area.
Additional elementary schools will eventually be needed and the strategic plan lists them as being built during phases II and III, most likely using the property in Oakley and Francis and we will probably need more schools in the Silver Creek and Browns Canyon areas.
18-What is the master planning committee and who is on it?
For several months the district and Board of Education have been working with an architectural firm and a municipal financial advisory team to create an in-depth analysis of the current state of capital facilities and growth projections. Based on these findings, we determined that we needed to create a master plan to accommodate our students into the future.
We created a master planning committee, which includes members of the community council, the school board, city officials and various members of the public. The committee’s charge was to research possible strategies and solutions to handle the expected growth and present its recommendations to the School Board. Current committee members include: Byron Ames, Kip Bigelow, Steve Camp, Kathy Carr, Mike Crystal, Rachael Leavitt, Lorie Miner, Patrick Putt, Thomas Smart, Jim Snyder, Shad Sorenson, Lynda Whitmore, Louise Willoughby, Karin Wilson, Suni Woolstenhulme, Wade Woolstenhulme
19-How did the committee determine growth?
The District developed a request for proposal soliciting expertise in the areas of facilities and growth projection. Naylor, Wentworth and Lund Architects was hired to review the current state of the facilities. They brought in an independent municipal financial advisory and consulting firm by the name of Lewis Young Robertson and Burmingham to assist with growth projections.
20-Why did the District start Silver Summit Academy?
The South Summit School District land boundaries are very large and include the Uintas, Silver Creek/Promontory area near Park City and the Kamas Valley. There have been relatively few students living in the areas outside of the Kamas Valley and those students have been able to participate in schools closer to their homes. However, the Silver Creek area has approved developments that are currently under construction. The Board of Education and Administration felt it was important to provide a school closer to these homes, rather than bus them to Kamas. Because the growth will be staggered it was important to build a school that could accommodate and support flexible enrollments such as five first graders, one fourth grader and twelve middle school graders etc. The primary purpose for building the Academy is to have a school for residents living in Silver Creek. However, because of the unique concept it is anticipated that students in and possible outside of the District may pursue this educational experience, which could temporarily help with overcrowding in our three schools.
21-What is Silver Summit Academy?
The Academy is a public, personalized, blended-learning school within the South Summit School District. The school provides a fully individualized STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) focused education for K-12 students. Silver Summit Academy will utilize technology paired with face-to-face instruction to support student learning. Students attending the Academy may also supplement their experiences at the Academy with access to traditional classroom instruction at one of the South Summit Schools, or, for students exercising school choice, schools within their home district. Silver Summit Academy is designed to be different: from its high flexible interior design to its large maker-space, the goal is to create a school specifically designed to meet the needs of 21st Century Learners. Additional information is available online https://sites.google.com/ssummit.org/ssa*Priority Repairs List (scroll to bottom box on page)