Virginia School District Superintendent Gary DuPatis followed up with comments on Friday on a previous report about the district taking out a $1.8 million bond for operations.
DuPatis says it’s all a way to put the debt service in the district in a better financial position: “The bond that we have out now is when the new building was built and the addition put on back in 2014. Those bonds are still outstanding. We are looking to issue working cash bonds that will put the district in a better financial position and be able to update our curriculum, keep class sizes low. Also, the plan is to do that to restructure these existing bonds that we have for the building so that when we issue the working cash bonds, the tax rate will not increase. We will keep tax rates the same so we do not have an increase on the taxpayer.”
DuPatis emphasized that the property tax rate will stay the same unless a taxpayer’s home was reassessed at a higher value by the County Assessor’s Office. DuPatis says that the other need to issue the bond was to meet a state mandate on teacher salaries and curriculum: “The other part of [the bond issue] is, coupled with the teacher shortage, we also have new laws that come into place where we have to over the next 3 years increase our teacher salary so that we meet a minimum of $40,000 per teacher. That’s a state law. We also have to incorporate in that same time frame an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour for our non-certified staff. Those additional expenses need to be offset and we’re not seeing the influx of general state aid from the Evidence-Based Funding Formula. We are not seeing the influx that’s going to cover all of those costs. We are trying to be proactive so that we have the money for the district so that we can keep providing a top education for our students and keep the district moving forward as it needs to in these changing times, especially with technology and updating curriculum.”
DuPatis says that the updates in curriculum to history, foreign language, and STEM courses also incurs some extra costs to the district that will be covered by the new bond.