Dear Members of our School Community:
This November, in addition to electing a new president and a new member of Congress, Albemarle County voters will have the opportunity to cast a ballot that will directly impact 25 of our schools. For the first time in more than 40 years, voters will be asked to consider whether Albemarle County should issue general obligation bonds to finance capital improvement projects for local schools.
Each of these projects is approved by the Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee, our School Board, and the Board of Supervisors, and is included in local government’s present Capital Improvement Plan. Among the problems these projects will address:
- The need for more classroom space: We have added more than 1,000 students since we last built a new school, and today, more than 30 percent of our students are in overcrowded schools. We are using more than 40 trailers across the county to help meet instructional needs.
- The age of our current facilities: The average age of our core buildings exceeds 40 years. Many science labs have not been updated since the parents of today’s students attended school, and many classrooms lack adequate electrical power and even natural light.
- The urgency of improvements: Voting for such projects as security upgrades will allow this work to go forward as soon as possible.
- The cost of improvements: Approval of the bond referendum allows the county to issue general obligation bonds. Albemarle County is the only AAA bond rated municipality in Virginia that does not issue such bonds to finance capital projects. Because general obligation bonds carry a lower interest rate than currently-used revenue bonds, financing the projects in the referendum through general obligation bonds could result in a savings of at least $1 million.
In conjunction with the League of Women Voters, three community forums have been scheduled to provide you with the opportunity to learn more about the referendum and to ask any questions you may have. These forums are on October 4 at Western Albemarle High School; October 11 at Monticello High School; and October 26 at Albemarle High School. All three meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
Spanish interpretation will be available at both the October 11 (Monticello High School) and October 26 (Albemarle High School) community meetings.
I hope your calendar will allow you to attend a forum. You also can visit the Bond Referendum 2016 website for more information. Thank you for casting an informed vote on November 8.
School Board Chair