Aurora Public Schools board OKs $300-million bond question for November ballot

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AURORA | The Aurora Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved Tuesday, Aug. 2, seeking a $300-million bond measure this fall in an effort to mend the district’s many crowded and aging schools.

If approved by voters this November, the bond question would increase residential property taxes by $1.93 per month for every $100,000 of home value, according to district documents. An approved bond would increase the mill levy for residences in APS boundaries from 20 to 23 mills in 2017.

Dollars from the bond would go toward financing the construction of a new school that would serve grades six to 12 in northwest Aurora, a new P-8 school in east Aurora and a new building to replace the current Mrachek Middle School, according to a proposed ballot issue document. Bond funds would also help pay for additional classroom space at crowded schools, extra security cameras, upgraded computers, better heating and air conditioning in schools, and the potential construction of a building that APS could lease to a state college or university.

The total repayment cost for the bond would be $498 million, according to district documents.

Also at the regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, board members heeded APS Superintendent Rico Munn’s recommendation to terminate the district’s relationship with Aman STEAM Academy, a charter school that was approved by the APS board two years ago. Munn cited Aman’s failure to meet target enrollment numbers in his decision to halt the school from opening in Aurora.

“It was my conclusion that Aman did not, at present, have the capacity to get to a successful opening,” Munn said.

Farrah Martin, the proposed school leader at Aman, said that the school is considering appealing the recent decision to the state board of education. In lieu of that recourse, Munn said that the charter could reapply to join the district during APS’ next round of charter applications in the spring.

Earlier this summer, HOPE Online Learning Academy, another charter school network that currently operates five online learning centers in APS, won an appeal to the state board of education after the APS board voted to terminate the network’s contract with the district in June.