Bond Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the primary purposes for the Bond money?

    The FUSD Bond money will be dedicated to renovating and maintaining District schools, and upgrading technology and school buses with the goals of increasing safety, efficiency, and general support of District programs, services and school activities.

    In addition to replacing two elementary schools that are 60 to 70 years old, the proposed renovations will provide modern teaching and learning environments, promote collaborative and outdoor learning, and increase energy efficiency.  Enhancements to technology and use of digital learning resources in grades K-12 will develop the skills necessary for students’ success as global citizens.

    Why a School Bond Election in November of 2022?

    The Bond program will provide FUSD the maximum flexibility in controlling tax rates and in having available funds for a variety of essential needs. The Bond revenues will best fill the vacuum of the capital funds that were significantly reduced by the state in 2008 and only recently been restored (but not adjusted for inflation).  The FUSD Governing Board called for a special election after an assessment of the District’s facilities was conducted by an outside agency, interviews with staff, and project prioritization by a Bond Steering Committee comprised of staff, parents, and community stakeholders.  

    What is included in the 2022 Bond Program?

    A general outline of the prioritized projections includes:

    • $25 million - Replacement/Rebuild, and possible relocation, of Kinsey Elementary

    • $25 million - Replacement/Rebuild, and possible relocation, of Marshall Elementary

    • $12 million - Replacement/Rebuild of Transportation and Maintenance Facilities

    • $12 million - Major maintenance life cycle projects

    • $5 million - Camp Colton Master Plan improvements

    • $6 million - Campus-specific projects

    • $7 million - Bus/Transportation fleet replacement

    • $8 million - Technology replacements and upgrades

    Kinsey Elementary School, constructed in 1957 and located at 1601 S. Lonetree Road, requires extensive repair and replacement of aged systems. The facility does not meet the current building code, ADA compliance requirements, and the needs of next-generation learning environments. Replacement/rebuild of the school is recommended. Relocation of the school may be considered due to site drainage issues, traffic, safety, and noise concerns due to the planned expansion of South Lone Tree Road, and an opportunity to strategically locate the school near planned future residential and commercial development in the Flagstaff community. 

    Marshall Elementary School, constructed in 1952 and located at 850 N. Bonito Street, requires extensive repair and replacement of aged systems. The facility does not support the next-generation learning needs of its magnet and special education programs. Replacement/rebuild of the school is recommended. Relocation of the school may be considered due to safety concerns of students crossing Bonito Street, the current location of the school in the Rio de Flag floodplain, and the opportunity to address needed campus and parking improvements on the Flagstaff High School confined to campus and community needs in the area.

    Transportation and Maintenance Facilities require extensive repair and replacement to address aged systems and safety issues. The current facilities do not support infrastructure for needed equipment and technology advances, such as electric and alternative fuel vehicles, adequate storage and security, and amenities for employees.

    Major Maintenance Life Cycle Projects include interior (flooring, wall finishes, doors/door hardware, restroom upgrades/accessibility, HVAC) and exterior (roofing, parking areas, playgrounds, fencing) improvements. 

    Camp Colton Master Plan Improvements will increase program capacity for students’ outdoor learning experiences. Camp Colton programs have connected FUSD and non-FUSD students with nature for over 50 years and are an integrated component of K-12 education programs. Improvements to Camp Colton would be funded in partnership with the Friends of Camp Colton non-profit organization and private donors. 

    Campus Specific Improvements include support for next-generation learning environments (flexible, multi-use space and furniture, outdoor learning and play spaces, natural light and views, community spaces, inclusive of cultural identities) and campus-specific projects by the site (security, dining areas, auditorium, artificial field). 

    Transportation/Bus Fleet Replacements address needs to replace high-mileage buses due to transportation of over 2,000 daily riders within the largest school district geographically in Arizona at 4,427 sq. miles, and plan to transition to low-emission alternative fuel and electric vehicles.

    Technology Replacement and Upgrades include student and staff device refreshes, infrastructure and cybersecurity, future-ready classrooms, and safety and security equipment. 

    What will the passage of this Bond cost?

    A $100 million Bond is called for in the election, and with careful timing of Bond sales, there will be only a minor increase in the tax rate for the proposed Bond Election. Paying back the Bonds will be scheduled to be amortized over a 15-20 year period.  The District has managed this long-term debt very carefully; as a result, the payment of principal and interest can be phased in with a small increase to the secondary tax rate of 35 cents per $100,000 of net assessed valuation per month from the current rate.  Responsible stewardship of all District finances has resulted in two major Bond rating services giving FUSD an Aaa rating (Moody’s) and AA- (S&P Global), which are high ratings for an Arizona School District.  These ratings assist the District in securing a low interest rate for the issued Bonds.  It should be noted that the renovation of older buildings and the included energy efficiency provisions will result in some annual operating savings; therefore, these funds will assist the District in maintaining classroom and program standards.

    What Bonding Capacity does the District have?

    The District has a 2022-2023 Constitutional Debt Limitation of $545,173,039 and has approximately $76,240,000 aggregate principal amount of general obligation debt outstanding.  

    Is there any benefit to property values because of the proposed Bond program?

    Yes, most definitely. Surveys and research have shown that sound K-12 educational offerings, and school facilities and equipment that provide a safe, pleasant environment translate into higher property values in the neighborhoods that surround those schools.  Fixing our schools is a sound investment and will pay dividends to homeowners, businesses, and the entire community.

    How do citizens know that FUSD will spend funds wisely and responsibly?

    Flagstaff Unified School District has a proven record regarding responsible stewardship of Bond funds. The $75 million 2018 Bond revenues were well planned and utilized according to the commitments made to voters.  The projects included the renovation of Mount Elden Middle School, construction of a new Killip Elementary, installation of energy-efficient LED lighting at all sites, accessibility improvements of restrooms and school entrances, artificial field replacements, technology devices and equipment for students and staff, and new buses and vehicles for transporting students.  A special report is made to the District’s Governing Board concerning the utilization of these funds, and a Bond Oversight Committee, with community membership, meets monthly to review projects and costs.  

    Does the availability of these Bond funds have any effect on programs and services for students?

    Yes. Without these funds, many of the capital concerns will have to be accomplished with general operating funds.  This means a direct effect on money available to maintain reasonable class sizes, teacher salaries, and provide special programs such as:

    • Music

    • Art

    • Physical Education

    • Counseling

    • Library

    • Extra-Curricular Activities

    • Magnet and Extensive Advanced Placement Electives

    • Special Assistance (tutoring) that many students require at various times

    • The energy efficiency projects will provide a direct offset to the general operating costs of the District.  It is estimated that due to the efficiency systems or the energy generating systems, the District has saved substantial operating costs.

    Why are Arizona school districts in the position of asking voters for so much local support?

    Arizona significantly reduced capital funding to K-12 education in 2008 and ranks 48th in the nation in per pupil spending.  Although funding has recently been restored, but not adjusted for inflation, the backlog of needs is so extensive it will require several years of increased dollars to schools. Also, there is no guarantee that future legislatures or Governors will continue restoration of funds.   

    How does FUSD ensure that Bond funds are used responsibly?

    The Bond Oversight Committee is made up of local Flagstaff-area residents, members of the FUSD Governing Board, and District staff. Each member lends their expertise to the decision making process.  The committee meets to approve and review the funding and progress of various projects and consider additional District needs.