Voters OK $7.7 million for schools

Posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2000

Juneau's public schools won this election.

Voters approved $7.7 million in bonds to renovate Floyd Dryden Middle School and fix up some other schools. They also OK'd a 1 percent sales tax that will pay the city's share of those bonds and funnel $4 million to renovate Juneau-Douglas High School.

Proposition 3 to sell $7.7 million in bonds with an expected interest of $2.77 million passed by a more than 3-1 margin Tuesday, with 7,834 voters saying yes and 2,256 saying no.

Floyd Dryden Middle School Principal Sue Clifton said the school now could sell off its three-year supply of duct tape.

"Obviously we're thrilled by the support that Juneau showed, but especially with the passage of Proposition 3, which of course greatly affects Floyd Dryden more than any other school," she said today.

The Legislature already has agreed to reimburse the city for 70 percent of the school bonds' principal and interest. The city is expected to pay about $3.1 million of the debt over 10 years.

Usually bonds are paid off with property taxes. But voters on Tuesday also approved Proposition 2, which extends a 1 percent sales tax for five years. The Juneau Assembly has said it intends to pay the city's share of the bond debt from those revenues.

Much of the bond proceeds will go to spruce up Floyd Dryden Middle School, which hasn't seen many changes since it was built in 1972. The city also will replace roofs at Auke Bay Elementary School, the Marie Drake building and the Harborview Elementary gym; replace the floor at the JDHS auxiliary gym; and renovate some heating elements at JDHS and Gastineau Elementary.

The 1 percent sales tax also is expected to provide $4 million to renovate JDHS and $600,000 to buy a storage building for the school district, which would free up some covered parking space at JDHS now used for storage.

Last year voters also approved $13 million in bonds to fix up JDHS, plus $50 million to build a second high school. Construction won't take place until the state agrees to reimburse part of the costs, but architects are designing the projects now.

A planning team of city and school district officials, after consulting with a larger group of citizens, has said the priorities for the additional $4 million are to renovate the JDHS commons and improve the food service, relocate administrative offices, and improve the auditorium's sound and lighting systems.

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