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Bennington School District currently has $173,000,000 in bond debt!​

Taxpayers have to weigh the current financial situation of the district, the current and possible future market scenarios, as well as economic conditions, against the risk of doubling the debt of the community. The debt is structured to demand payments from taxpayers for decades to come.

The level of risk HAS NOT changed since the previous bond attempt in 2022!

  • The district has only paid down $25+ Million in bond debt since 2003

  • 2nd Highest Tax Levy in the State.  

  • There is no cap to your bond tax levy. Meaning it could go above the "$.049 maximum". If the valuations fall short of 9% for the first five years (2024 to 2028), a 7% increase for the next five years (2029 to 2033) and a 5% increase until such bonds are retired 22 years from now.

  • Bennington currently has the second highest Debt Ratio (aka leverage) in the state at 6.7%, and should this bond pass, the highest at 11.3%. Well above state statute for a city in Nebraska. - see Table 1 below.

  • 92% of the Total Valuation is Residential, only 4% Commerical. Much higher than surrounding or similar size districts. This leaves the tax burden to residential taxpayers. - see Table 2 below

  • We have interest-only debt schedules for many years.

 

  • We will likely pay more in interest and fees than the high school costs to build.

  • The district has not provided details on the current debt situation of the district or any potential short or long-term plans to address the high debt.

  • The need for another additional building is imminent. - see table 3 below

  • The 2023 auditor's report (which can be found attached to the meeting agenda for the November 2023 board meeting) found four areas of Significant Deficiency within their review of BPS financial statements:

    • Segregation of Duties​

    • Preparation of Financial Statements, including Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards

    • Lack of Proper Documentation for Journal Entry

    • Non‐District Activity Using the District’s Tax Identification Number

These enrollment projections were presented during the November 2023 board meeting.

Projections show a need for a new high school with current capacity of 93%. 

Looking at the same assumptions it would appear the district will need a new elementary bond issued in 2026 and a middle school in 2027. Which is at the same rate the district has issued bonds over the past 20 years (one about every 3-4 years).

Table 3

CURRENT DISTRICT FINANCES

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