Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does CV need to build a new middle school and renovate existing elementary schools?
A: Moderate population growth is expected to continue, and our middle school and most elementary schools are nearing effective capacity. A new middle school encompassing grades 6-8 will relieve the pressure at the existing elementary schools (currently housing 6th grade). Renovations are needed at the elementary schools to maintain efficient operations and to replace/repair aging mechanical systems (roofing, HVAC, etc.).
Q: Where are you going to build the new school?
A: The new school will be located on 40 acres of land the district owns on the high school/middle school campus, situated behind the stadium and high school. This land is currently leased as farmland, but can be developed.
Q: How long has the board been discussing/planning these construction projects?
A: The board began this discussion at a community forum in November of 2015. Enrollment projections were shared, and the attendees were engaged in a conversation about several possible construction scenarios.
Q: How does CV plan to pay for the $100 million in construction costs, and how long should it take to pay it off? How much do you expect to pay annually?
A: We plan to pay for the costs by issuing general obligation bonds. Currently we are planning to issue $10 million later this year, $40 million in August 2019, $40 million in August 2020 and the last $10 million in June 2021. In order to protect against interest rates being higher in 2019 and 2020 than they are today, the district will be putting a cash settle hedge in place for the two $40 million pieces. The new debt is scheduled to be put in place as old debt is being paid off, so though there will be some increase to annual debt service, it is mostly a continuation of debt service already in place.
Q: Do you plan on raising taxes over the next several years? If so, how much?
A: We do not expect residents’ taxes to increase by much more than what’s been typical over the past several years. Part of what makes this possible is that CV’s debt service will drop from around $5 million per year to just over $1 million in 2021, to virtually nothing in the years after. That allows CV to finance a new building and renovate existing structures without dramatically changing the impact of debt on its overall budget. We expect to keep taxes to the Act 1 index each year, possibly with exceptions.
Q: Will you take any money out of reserves to offset taxpayer burden? If so, how much?
A: We are not planning to do that at this point. Rather, we want these funds available to give the board flexibility along the way.
Q: When should construction begin and end?
A: Brownstown Elementary renovations were finished for the 2020-21 school year. Renovations to the other schools will follow. The new middle school is expected to be complete before the start of the 2022-23 school year. Renovations to the existing middle school to prepare it for Smoketown Elementary will begin after that is complete.
Q: What will the capacity be of the new middle school?
A: There are currently roughly 680 students in the middle school. The new building's capacity will be 1,200 students.
Q: Will there be lockers in the new building?
Q: Will the new school use public water or wells?
A: The new school will be using the existing well that currently services the high school and existing middle school. However, we will also be adding a well for redundancy as a form of back up in the event the current system fails.
Q: What is the projected growth in the district?
A: Conestoga Valley's projected growth is relatively stable. Though the district is still seeing a slight increase in the number of students, growth is slowing down compared to previous years. The district will continue to watch the population closely as these plans are being developed.
Q: What are the plans for the existing Smoketown Elementary building?
A: The Board has not yet made any decisions about what will happen to the existing Smoketown building.