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Laurel residents voting on $88 million 2 school bonds

Laurel Schools
Posted at 2:58 PM, May 01, 2023

Ballots are due on Tuesday for school elections, including in Laurel, where voters will decide on two bond issues totaling $88 million for the Laurel Public Schools.

The $57 million elementary bond would pay for a new sports field, an addition and renovation at West Elementary School and a new 3rd-5th elementary school.

The $31 million high school bond would pay for career technical education additions, athletic expansion and for relocation of the administrative department.

For a $200,000 home, propert taxes would increase $25.90 per month or $309.62 per year for 20 years.

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More information is available on a website about the bond.

"We'd be be getting rid of the two oldest buildings that we have that are in the poorest condition," said Matt Torix, Laurel Public Schools superintendent.

The administration building on Colorado Avenue that was built in 1910 would be sold.

West Elementary School would be renovated.

Graff Elementary School, built in 1950, would be torn down, and a new 3rd-5th grade elementary school would be built to replace it.

"Graff basically came back with an F grade," said Torix. "We have major structural issues have large pillars. They've had a beaver chewing on them. We have a lot of permanent standing water down there."

Torix says it simply would cost too much to renovate Graff, especially since the floors need repairing and the boiler needs replacing.

If the Park City School District just down the road is any indication, a new school could be a tough sell.

"I voted against them because it increases my taxes," a Park City voter said to Q2 in April of last year.

Four school bonds have failed in Park City in seven years, the last a $14 million proposal to build a new school.

And in 2017 Laurel voters rejected a $14.9 million high school bond and a $37.6 million elementary bond.

"Since then we have some new knowledge and now we're probably in some ways lucky that bond didn't pass," Torix said. "We don't want to build a Taj Mahal but we want to build good educational environments for our kids in the future."