FAQs

Listed below are common questions you may have. Click on each question in blue to view the answer.
Click here to view questions submitted by community members.

Questions

General Information

1. What is the Quincy Schools Bond Referendum about?
2. When will the Quincy School District’s proposed Bond Referendum take place?
3. Why is the proposed Referendum being held now?
4. Who was involved in developing this plan?
5. What alternatives were considered in developing this plan?
6. What happens if the Referendum doesn’t pass?

Construction Costs

7. What is included in the Project costs?
8. How will the Board of Education keep costs under control?
9. What happens if bids are not received within the budget?
10. What happens if there is a cost overrun during construction for the project?
11. What happens to our existing facilities once the new ones are completed?

Financial: Bond and Tax Impact

12. What is a bond?
13. Why are bonds needed?
14. How can bond proceeds be used?
15. Can districts use general obligation bonds for operating purposes?
16. Why a referendum?
17. What is the total dollar amount we will be asked to vote on for the proposed Bond Referendum?
18. How will my property taxes be impacted if the proposed Referendum is approved?
19. What is the difference between Assessed Value and Market Value?
20. How will the proposed Referendum affect taxes for senior citizens?

Answers

General Information

1. What is the Quincy Schools Bond Referendum about?
The Bond Referendum is an opportunity for voters to decide whether the school district will be authorized to raise $89 million through the sale of bonds to build and equip five new elementary schools, build an addition to Quincy Senior High School, acquire land, repair existing school buildings and provide technology improvements. Back to top.

2. When will the Quincy School District’s proposed Bond Referendum take place?
A School Bond Referendum will be on the general election ballot Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Back to top.

3. Why is the proposed Referendum being held now?
The need to address our aging facilities and provide our students with an education they will need to be successful in an increasingly technology-driven world has been under study for many years. The District is comprised of buildings of a different vintage ranging in age from 42 to 124 years old. In order to appropriately maintain our buildings, upgrades and replacement of building components will be necessary as long as we own the facility. Many of these repairs will need to be made in the next five to six years. These costs are estimated to be over $66 million over the next 20 years. Building new facilities will reduce these costs to just over $16 million.

The District is in a unique position of having some of our current debt retiring soon and the same level of payment can be applied to the new bond payments The District’s Financial Advisors have estimated that this proposal can be accomplished without increasing the overall property tax rates from their current level.

With an improving economy, interest rates will be inching upward and we want to take advantage of current low rates as soon as is possible. Back to top.

4. Who was involved in developing this plan?
The development of the Master Plan was the charge of a Superintendent-nominated Steering Committee that was made up of administration, curriculum leaders, parents, students, teachers, and district patrons. The committee researched the facility needs for the next twenty years and included the possibility of new facilities/locations, grade structure, and financing the project. Assisting the Committee was the District’s three architectural firms that supplied technical information and gathered data for the committee. Back to top.

5. What alternatives were considered in developing this plan?
The Committee studied and evaluated multiple realignment and building strategies, projects and groups of projects on a school by school basis and on a project type basis to develop the recommended plan.
The decision-making process that the Committee went through was not an easy one, and forced the Committee to consider many pros and cons and different alternatives. In the end, the Committee elected to put forward the recommendation that it did for several reasons:

  1. The grade configuration better aligns Quincy Public Schools with neighboring and comparable school districts, helping ensure that our children are getting a similar educational experience to their peers.
  2. Fewer transitions between schools has been shown to create a less disruptive learning environment for children.
  3. All new elementary schools ensure that no neighborhood is disproportionately affected by the changes and all students benefit from the changes.
  4. This configuration is estimated to save Quincy Public Schools $1.5 million annually in operating costs.
  5. This configuration allows for flexibility in the design to accommodate potential future growth as well as changes in technology and learning environments for students.

Back to top.

6. What happens if the Referendum doesn’t pass?
The Board could call for an additional Referendum at a later date on this plan, or the District could develop alternate plans and return for a future referendum. The District will also have to move forward with required Health, Life, Safety projects. Back to top.

Construction Costs

7. What is included in the Project costs?
Costs for the building program are estimated based upon the room type and scope of the specific project. Non- building costs for site acquisition and improvements are also included. The cost to equip and furnish the buildings, including technology is included in the project costs. Finally, the other project costs including architect and engineer fees, legal fees, and other contingency fees are also included. The proportionate summary of projects are as follows:

New Elementary School at Monroe Site $14,200,000
Improvements at Senior High School $16,000,000
New Elementary School $15,600,000
New Elementary School $15,600,000
New Elementary School $15,600,000
New Elementary School at Baldwin Site $12,000,000
Total Project Cost $89,000,000
Total Referendum $ 89,000,000
Back to top.

8. How will the Board of Education keep costs under control?
The Board of Education will be managing costs in several ways:

  • Our architects have extensive experience managing projects like ours with a multitude of clients and school districts;
  • Our architects will produce highly detailed specifications enabling contractors to better understand the work on which they are bidding. Because of the quality of the plans, the District should receive a higher than normal number of construction bidders which leads to more competitive pricing; and
  • By law, we use an open bidding process with full access to the bidders list, and this way, the contractors can get the lowest prices from all interested manufacturers and suppliers.

Back to top.

9. What happens if bids are not received within the budget?
The budget is established by law by the question put before the voters in the Referendum. That published Referendum budget cannot be exceeded. If construction bids are not under budget, the project will be redesigned by the architect and rebid at another date in the near future. The Architects will include multiple bidding alternates for each of the major contraction divisions in the original bid requests that allow for adding to or subtracting from the scope of the work.
Acceptance of any alternate or combination of alternates may be used to bring the project under budget. Back to top.

10. What happens if there is a cost overrun during construction for the project?
A contingency figure has been built into the budgeted cost to deal with any unforeseen construction problems. Back to top.

11. What happens to our existing facilities once the new ones are completed?
Where feasible and cost effective, the District will use vacated facilities for alternate district uses. The District will explore selling facilities that we are unable to re-use. Back to top.

Financial: Bond and tax Impact

12. What is a bond?
The sale of municipal bonds is a form of long-term borrowing that spreads the cost of major capital improvements over the years facilities are used. This method of financing ensures that current and future users help pay for the improvements. Back to top.

13. Why are bonds needed?
The building and renovation of schools are not financed through the school system’s operating funds, but through bonds. Bonds are similar to someone obtaining a mortgage on a residence to spread the cost of home-buying over a number of years. Back to top.

14. How can bond proceeds be used?
Bond proceeds may be used only for those projects and costs listed on the ballot. Back to top.

15. Can districts use general obligation bonds for operating purposes?
No. Bond proceeds may be used only for those projects and costs listed on the ballot. Back to top.

16. Why a referendum?
The law requires that voters approve bonds since they are a future obligation for taxpayers. Back to top.

17. What is the total dollar amount we will be asked to vote on for the proposed Bond Referendum?
The total amount voters will be asked to approve is $89 million dollars. The Referendum amount includes all building and site construction costs, professional fees and contingencies, and cannot be exceeded by the Board in the execution of the project. Back to top.

18. How will my property taxes be impacted if the proposed Referendum is approved?
The District’s Financial Advisors have estimated that this proposal can be accomplished without increasing the overall property tax rates from their current level. The District has current debt which will be retired soon and the same level of payment can be applied to the new bond payments. The Board of Education is aware of the difficult economy with which everyone is learning to live, and we are aware that it has an impact on education Back to top.

19. What is the difference between Assessed Value and Market Value?
Market Value is how much you or a realtor could sell your house for in today’s market. The Assessed Value is the value given to your land and improvements for property tax purposes by your municipality and appears on your tax bill. Back to top.

20. How will my property taxes be impacted if the proposed Referendum is approved?
Again, overall property tax rates are estimated NOT to increase for anyone including senior citizens. Back to top.