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Culver bond: What will it cost me?


   As the Culver School District campaigns to convince voters to pass a $20 million bond levy for an new elementary school and added classroom space, many people just want to know the bottom line -- what it will cost them.
   The answer to that question is complicated by the fact that the Culver district is still paying off the $7.5 million school bond it passed in 1995. That bond built the new middle school and a new elementary, which has since outgrown its capacity.
   After conferring with Seattle Northwest Securities, a bond company, it was suggested that the school district defer interest on the 2006 bond (if it passes) for three years -- at which time the 1995 bond will be paid off. This would ease the tax burden on district patrons.
   Currently, they are paying $3.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value on the 1995 bond. Using deferred interest, the 2006 bond would only cost an additional 20 cents per $1,000 for three years (from 2007 to 2009).
   During those three years, the Culver community would continue to grow, with new residents helping to lower the costs of the bond.
   When the 1995 bond is paid off, taxpayers would begin paying $6 to $6.50 per $1,000 in 2010. The new bond would be paid off in 2026.
   It's important to note there is a difference between the "real market value" and "assessed value" of a home or property. Taxes are calculated on the assessed value, which is about 50 percent of the real market value. People can check their tax bill to find the assessed value figure for their home or property.
   For example, Culver's school bond costs per year, per $100,000 of assessed value, are $380 this year. If the new school bond levy passes, the cost would be $400 for three years, then would go up to $600 to $650 per year from 2010 to 2026.
   Information night
   To clarify this information, or find out your exact amount, citizens are invited to attend a community information night at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Culver City Hall.
   Culver Superintendent Linda Florence mentioned a proposed large destination resort, which is near Black Butte and in the Culver school district. If built, it would further reduce the tax burden by providing a large additional tax base for the school district.
   "That would reduce the amount by around $2 per $1,000. It would really be a benefit," Florence said.
   Florence emphasized that all three Culver schools received strong ratings on the recent State Report Card, and also met adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act.
   "Culver has a tradition of solid academics," she said.
   Ballots for the school bond will be mailed out to voters on Oct. 20, and Election Day is Nov. 7.