Q: How many schools are in Weld RE-4 and how many students do we serve?
In the 2020-2021 school year, Weld RE-4 served 7,477 students within its boundaries, which encompasses 100 square miles and includes Windsor, Severance, West Greeley, and unincorporated Weld County. Our district is home to two high schools, two middle schools, four elementary schools, one primary school, and one charter school that offers elementary, middle, and high school programs.
Q: How many of these students come from outside of our boundaries?
Due to capacity issues, Weld RE-4 greatly limits how many choice applications it accepts from students outside of our boundaries. In the 2020-2021school year, there were only 206 choice applications accepted in traditional schools districtwide (does not include Windsor Charter Academy). It is important to know that Colorado is an open enrollment state. By law, students can choose to attend their assigned neighborhood school or “choice in” to another public school within their district or even outside their district and the district has to accept them if there are space and programs available to serve them.
Q: Why is Weld RE-4 considering a bond program?
Growth in student enrollment in Weld RE-4 is aligned with new neighborhood developments within our boundaries. In 2020, the number of single-family home permits in Windsor, Severance, and West Greeley combined (approx.1,400) rivaled that of those granted in Wellington, Loveland, Fort Collins, and Timnath combined (approx. 1,500).
All Weld RE-4 elementary schools are currently near or above 100% utilization. Both middle schools are currently over 100% utilization. In the 2021-2022 school year, elementary school capacity is projected to be at 108% and middle school capacity at 110%. The district already has 28 modular classrooms on campuses across the district. Meanwhile, Weld RE-4 is anticipating 900 new elementary students between 2021 and 2024 and a near-term need to add capacity to serve 500 more middle school students.
Best practice is to add capacity when building utilization reaches approximately 110-115%. Anticipating continued residential growth in our communities, the Weld RE-4 School District is on a 4-5 year bond investment cycle.
Q: What investments is the district proposing?
The bond will focus on investments to meet basic capacity needs of students already in Weld RE-4. In 2020, the Long Range Facility Planning Committee (with input from the district’s Design Advisory Committee) recommended the Board of Education ask voters to invest in the expansion of both Severance and Windsor Middle Schools, and in the construction of two new elementary schools. The bond will allow for these projects as well as the expansion of Windsor Charter Academy and renovation projects districtwide.
Q: Where will the new elementary schools be located?
The two new elementary schools will be located in the Peakview and Raindance neighborhoods.
The Peakview location will decrease overcrowding at three schools: Grandview, Range View, and Mountain View/Tozer. It will allow us to serve Severance families currently in Grandview’s boundary, at Range View.
Due to the size of the Raindance development, we expect to open the school with significant enrollment. This location will also accommodate enrollment from new housing developments on the western part of our district boundaries.
Locating elementary schools at Peakview and Raindance will balance enrolment at each our K-5 campuses at an average of about 520 students each.
Q: How much is the potential bond package?
Investments total is expected to be $177 million, however the district has applied for a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant of $9 million which, if awarded, would reduce the bond proposal to $168 million. BEST grant recipients are expected to be notified by June 2021. For estimated cost to taxpayers, please see “The Investment” page on this site.
Q: How much is the potential Mill Levy Override and what does it pay for?
The district expects to need a $3 million mill levy override to collect additional property tax dollars for operational expenses (staff and program costs) of the two new elementary schools. The cost to taxpayers is included in the amount listed on the “The Investment” page on this site.
Q: When was the last time Weld RE-4 asked for bond funding?
In 2016, voters approved a school bond of $104.8 million for renovations and innovations at Windsor High School (including the construction of an Innovation Center), the construction of Severance High School, facility investments and improvements across the district’s elementary and middle schools, and facility improvements to other district facilities.
Q: When will the bond initiative appear on the ballot?
If the Board of Education officially “refers the question” in late August, questions related to a Weld RE-4 bond and Mill Levy Override will appear on the ballot In November 2021.