It is now official, Yuma School District-1 will have a bond issue question on the November ballot.

The resolution calling for the election was unanimously approved by the Yuma-1 Board of Education during a special meeting last Wednesday evening, August 28, at the District Office. All five board members — President Dan Ross, and Kim Langley, Thomas Holtorf, Lyndsey Galles and Duane Brown — were in attendance.

An intergovernmental agreement to hold a coordinated election with the Yuma County Clerk and Recorder’s Office was due the next day, and the actual ballot question itself needs to be submitted by this Friday, September 6.

Yuma-1 is seeking voter approval for nearly $16 million in bonds for an approximately $32 million construction and renovation project at Yuma High School, as well as some minor renovations to the Yuma Middle School/Morris Elementary campus..

The district successfully applied for a Building Excellent Schools Together (BEST) Grant for 50 percent of the project last spring. However, the grant is contingent upon the district’s voters approving the bond issue to cover the remaining 50 percent.

Yuma-1 attempted to pass a bond issue for more than $17 million in November 2016, but it was defeated by approximately 100 votes.

Brown noted it is very different this time due to the project focus highlighted by the district getting a Master Plan done last fall, and approval of the BEST Grant.

The proposed ballot question calls for the district’s debt to be increased by $16 million, with a repayment cost of up to $25.7 million, with the district taxes being increased by up to $1.3 million annually for the payment of the general obligation bond.

The proposed project includes improving student safety by reconfiguring parent and bus pick-up and drop-off locations at MES, YMS and YHS, along with an addition to the high school and renovation of the current building, enhancing security and improving career and technical education opportunities. It also calls for repairing or replacing outdated HVAC, electrical and other mechanical systems at YHS and YMS, and renovating the YMS kitchen.

Holtorf noted prior to the vote last week that the ballot question is more succinct than most he has seen, with it being to the point. Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said it is concise but covers the main points.

Look for more on this in the Pioneer in the coming weeks leading up to the mail-in ballot election.

SCHOOL BOARD RACES

There will not be a need for a school board election this November in Yuma-1 or Liberty J-4 school districts.

Yuma-1 has two seats coming up for election. However the only candidates to submit nomination forms by last Friday’s deadline were incumbents Thomas Holtorf and Duane Brown. Holtorf is eligible for one more four-year term, while Brown can serve up to two more four-year terms as he was first elected in 2017 to fulfill the last two years of another term.

Liberty J-4 had four candidates turn in nomination petitions by last Friday’s deadline for the four seats with terms coming to an end. The candidates are incumbents Christine Herrick and Ana Liming, along with newcomers Kenna Dible and Alicia Sears.