Dear Members of the Fairfax Community, 

We are thrilled to welcome our students back for the 2022-2023 school year. The year is off to a great start and everyone seems to be settling into a positive routine. Fairfax is truly an amazing community, and the knowledge of that appears to be spreading, evidenced by PK-12 enrollment numbers approaching 1000 students for the first time in years. As both our town and student populations continue to grow, for the sake of adequately educating our students, preparing them for their futures, and ensuring safety and equity for all members of our school community, we must address the current state of the Pre K-12 school building and facilities. 

The Long Range Facilities Planning Committee (LRFPC) is made up of community members, board members, staff, and administrators. The current LRFPC has re-examined the two previous bond proposals, while exploring the current challenges, ongoing needs, and unresolved issues impacting our school building. The LRFPC has collaborated to find solutions to best fit not only our current needs, but also the equally important foreseeable needs of our community over the next two decades. The LRFPC has been mindful of the balance between the needs of the school, the cost of addressing those needs, and the ensuing financial impact on the community of Fairfax.

The ongoing challenges of our current school building include:

  • Continued growth in enrollment, specifically at the elementary level, has created a need for additional classrooms. Due to a lack of available space in the elementary wing, as of the start of this school year, two multi-age 3/4 classrooms were moved into the high school. As our school population continues to grow, any necessary additions will further encroach on the middle and high school spaces.
  • The ongoing space needs in the elementary school have necessitated the consolidation of the Pre-K program into one classroom, which has significantly limited the number of spots we are able to offer the community.
  • In two years, as our current elementary students enter middle school, additional classroom spaces will be necessary to accommodate the increasingly large class sizes.
  • The Middle/High school building has not had a significant upgrade to the facilities in the past thirty years. As a result, our facility poses a variety of challenges, ranging from necessary upgrades, to most notably a lack of safe and efficient access for those with mobility issues.
  • Outdated science labs that do not allow for current and appropriate STEM learning opportunities.

The proposed bond includes the following:

  • The addition of five classrooms to the elementary school. Two classrooms will be designated to serve our Pre-Kindergarten students and the other three will provide classrooms for our third and fourth graders.   
  • The addition of four classrooms to the middle/high school, allowing for clear designation of elementary, middle, and high school spaces.
  • Reconfiguration of interior building space that will enable more effective utilization of the existing floor plan. 
  • Renovated and enlarged science, band and chorus spaces.
  • Consolidated administrative offices which create a more secure entrance to the middle/high school.
  • Upgraded elevators to ensure safe and efficient access to all learning areas.
  • Sprinkler system installation throughout the building to meet required safety measures.
  • Enlarged cafeteria spaces to allow for greater capacity and increased flexibility in academic scheduling.
  • Addition of much needed storage space for increasing academic and co-curricular supplies and equipment.

In response, on Monday, September 12 the BFA Fairfax School Board has accepted and warned a building bond not to exceed $36,415,580. The bond proposal reflects a balance of the immediate needs and goals, while providing options for both the short and long-term needs and goals of our school community. 

So how will this impact your taxes? Below is a chart that estimates the tax impact on home values based on a 30-year bond at a 4.09% interest rate. Please be aware that in Vermont there are provisions for income sensitivity with regard to property taxes. The table below is offered as a guide. 

Home ValueFY22FY 23 CurrentChange from FY22FY 23
With Bond
Change from FY22Bond Impact
$100,000$1,503$1009-$493$1204-$299$194
$200,000$3005$2018-$987$2407-$598$389
$300,000$4508$3028-$1480$3611-$897$583
$400,000$6010$4037-$1973$4814-$1196$777
$500,000$7513$5046-$2467$6018-$1495$972
Based on Actual Tax Rates from 2022-23 Tax Bill and Reappraised Value

There will be three more sessions for community members to learn more about this bond proposal. The tours will occur on the following dates:

  • October 1, 2022 @ 9:00 am Walking/Talking Tour
  • October 19, 2022 @ 6:00 pm Walking/Talking Tour
  • November 3, 2022 @ 7:00 pm Special Meeting

Additional information will be available at the Summer Mash Up Series, School Chorus & Band Concerts, Halloween

The bond vote will occur on Tuesday, November 08 in the Middle School Gym. We encourage you to participate in the informational meetings and to learn about the details of this exciting opportunity for our community. Please feel free to contact Justin Brown (jbrown@fwsu.org),  Liz Noonan (enoonan@fwsu.org ), Geri Witalec-Krupa (gwitalec@fwsu.org) or Thomas Walsh (twalsh@fwsu.org) if you have any questions. We look forward to engaging our stakeholders in a process that serves our students, staff, and community for the next several decades.

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