Proposition 1 on Tuesday's ballot would allow the city to issue $18.7 million in general obligation bonds to renovate Auke Bay Elementary School. As a renovation, this project would qualify for 70 percent debt reimbursement under the state's School Construction Bond Debt Reimbursement Program, leaving a net fiscal impact to Juneau taxpayers of only $6.1 million over 10 years.
Built in 1968, Auke Bay School is ready for this makeover. A thorough planning study by architectural firm Jensen Yorba Lott has shown the site is stable and the foundation is structurally sound, so we can set aside our old worries that the building might slide into the bay and proceed with confidence to bring our beloved school up to 21st century standards and like-new condition.
The Juneau School District School Board and the City Assembly carefully weighed several options before deciding to present Proposition 1 to the voters. There are many advantages to renovating the existing structure vs. new construction: the overall is cost to taxpayers is less than half, we qualify for 70 percent debt reimbursement instead of only 60 percent, and we keep our ideal location in the heart of Auke Bay, within walking distance of so many wonderful resources, including UAS, the post office, the fire station, the boat harbor, and the extensive nature trails adjacent to the school. We save money, and we keep our kids connected to a vibrant community.
We have a tired building that's not up to code, with a heating system that doesn't have any "oomph" left, an electrical system installed before anyone thought of computers in the classroom, and an awkward layout that doesn't fit our expectations for a kid-friendly and community-friendly school. Let's pull together and renovate Auke Bay School. Please join me in voting yes on Proposition 1.
President of the Auke Bay PTA