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High School Bond Referendum

QUESTION: Shall the City of Falls Church Virginia, contract a debt and issue its general obligation bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000.00) for the purpose of paying the costs incident to constructing, expanding, reconstructing, renovating, equipping and/or reequipping, in whole or in part, a new or improved High School and part of a middle school in the City of Falls Church, and shall Ordinance No. 1976 of the City authorizing the issuance of such bonds be effective?The League of Women Voters of Falls Church does not have a position on the HS Bond Referendum but offers the following information and sources. BACKGROUND: George Mason High School opened in 1952, was last renovated in 1995 and is over capacity with 860 students enrolled. It is expected to grow by 200 students in the next 5 years. If the bond referendum is approved by voters, the City Council intends to defray part of the $120 million cost of building the new high school and expanding the middle school by offering up to 10.34 acres of land for private development purposes. To help offset construction expenses and alleviate the burden on taxpayers. A recent third-party study submitted to the Council estimates that the City could earn $43-45 million from long-term lease or sale of the 10 acres. If the bond proposal is voted down, the City will still need to seek voters' approval to issue a bond to fix critical systems (HVAC, roof and other infrastructure) in the high school. The School System estimates these costs in the $40 million range. Additional classroom space for increased enrollment will be needed by adding trailers or constructing an addition, with a cost in the $30 million range. The Falls Church City Public Schools' website (fccps.org/campusproject) contains a history of the project, including a review of all the options considered, and a feasibility study. The City's website includes the council's referendum decision, finance plan, economic feasibility study, and a timeline for action if the bond is approved. (fallschurchva.gov/1599/High-School-Campus-Project).The following provide additional perspectives on this issue. The Falls Church News-Press www.fcnp.com, The Falls Church FACTS fallschurchfacts.com, The Falls Church Post www.thefallschurchpost.com and Yes! for Falls Church www.yesforfallschurch.com.
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