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TUESDAY VOTE TO DECIDE $9.975 MILLION BOND

Maryvale taxpayers will go to the polls Tuesday to vote on a $9.975 million bond resolution for state-aided reconstruction of district buildings.

The project would consist of repairs at all district facilities, including new roofs, heating and ventilating improvements, asbestos removal, and electrical upgrades in buildings to handle new computer equipment in classrooms, Maryvale officials said.

The last time the district did any major reconstruction at the campus on Maryvale Drive was 10 years ago, Superintendent Gary L. Brader said.

The improvements are "essential to maintain the structural integrity of our facilities, come into compliance with regulations and address critical areas that cannot be accommodated within our annual budget," Brader said.

Maryvale would borrow the $9.975 million, but the state would reimburse the district 78.5 percent of the project cost, said David A. Gorlewski, Maryvale's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

This means that district taxpayers would cover about $2 million of the bond. It would be paid back over 20 years, starting in the 1999-2000 school year, and would not affect this year's tax rate.

"In other words, we're getting $10 million of work for about $2 million," said Russell Carveth, School Board vice president.

The project has the potential to increase school tax rates by between 24 and 41 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, but the actual tax impact would be less for a few reasons, Brader said.

The district's current debt continues to drop, and the lower debt helps lower the tax rate, school officials said.

Therefore, the decline in the district's current debt would help offset the estimated tax increase from the reconstruction project, officials said. The district also is anticipating an increase in its tax base in the coming years from expansion of the Walden Galleria shopping mall.

"There's no question that this work needs to be attended to," Brader said. "We've got to do it one way or another."

The project would include roof reconstruction, heating and ventilating improvements and electrical repairs at the community education, intermediate, middle and high school buildings on Maryvale Drive, as well as the primary school on Nagal Drive.

Other plans include repaving parking lots and tennis courts and reconstructing the entrance and loop road at the Maryvale campus.

Work would begin in the spring and last about two years, Brader said.

Voting will be from noon to 9 p.m. in the gymnasium of the 9-10 Building on Maryvale Drive.

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