There are eight major areas funding would address

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

There will be a special public hearing at Orange Grove High School on the upcoming bond election on Sept. 13 beginning at 7 p.m.

Superintendent Earl Luce said since the approval by the school board for a bond election, the district cannot solicit taxpayers to vote for the bond because of state regulations.

The public hearing is meant to give residents information about the bond issue, and allow them the opportunity to present questions they may have.

The district's preliminary 2007 Bond Improvement Plan, which will be reviewed at the public hearing, states the total cost of the project will be $6,813,730. The bond amount will be $6,560,000, with the local district contributing $251,325.

To pay for the project, the district will seek an Instructional Facilities Allotment from the state, which will cover a majority of the bond issue, if approved.

The bond amount, with the IFA funding, would add an additional $0.0656 to the local tax rate. Luce said without the additional funding from the IFA, the tax rate would go up to $0.3122, which he said would be unacceptable for local taxpayers.

The project list, which was devised by facility committees at the various campuses, addresses eight major areas:

These preliminary plans include more than 12,000 square feet in new classroom construction, science support construction and renovation on the north end of Orange Grove High School. A 2,250-square foot expansion of the junior high cafeteria. Four additional classrooms at the OGJH and a corridor for 7,010 square feet of construction. A total re-roofing of the junior high campus at $710,888 A primary school expansion of eight classrooms at 9,070 square feet for $1,451,200. An expansion of the Intermediate School library at $210,000. The preliminary plans also call for a re-roofing of the old primary building at $97,092. As well as the re-roofing of the maintenance/transportation/field house at $74,064.

All of these items are generally listed at this point, and not listed at their level of importance.

Luce said the only construction that won't be covered by the IFA is the transportation area next to the track.

"We may have to pay for that ourselves because IFA funding is only for instructional costs," Luce said.

The total cost for the eight projects is $5,446,174. Along with that total, the district included in the preliminary plan the design, testing and survey phase, which would equal $544,617.40.

Also included in the planning is five percent for contingencies at $273,511 and an additional five percent for inflation since the planning was initiated if construction started in May 2008 and the change of inflation for construction starting in November 2008. All together, the preliminary total on the plan is $6,813,730.

Luce said if the bond election is passed, and the district does not receive IFA funding, then no bonds will be sold.

The district could not accomplish the project without the assistance of IFA funding because of the increase necessary on the tax rate without the IFA.

"If bond issue passes this November, we can't apply for IFA until June 2008," Luce said. "The board approved the architect to begin the plans after the election, if approved. All the plans will be completed and we will be ready by next summer."

The district will be notified in August if the IFA is approved. After a call for bids to sell the bonds, the district would be able to start construction by November 2008.

As far as the cost to the taxpayers of OGISD, when considering the average taxable value of a home at $35,500, with the $0.0656 tax rate per $100 valuation, the total for the tax payer would be $23.28 per year. For a home valued at $50,000, the tax to the resident would be $32.80 per year for the bond issue. For those whose home has a taxable value of $100,000, the cost to taxpayers will be $65.60 per year.

Early voting for the election will be from Oct. 22 through Nov. 2 at the Orange Grove ISD Administration Office from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Election day will be Nov. 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at both Orange Grove High School or the Community Center in Sandia.