BFA Fairfax bond passes on 3rd attempt

The third time’s a charm for BFA Fairfax where a nearly $36.5M bond to renovate and expand the school was narrowly approved by just 33 votes on election day.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 8:38 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRFAX, Vt. (WCAX) - The third time’s the charm for BFA Fairfax where a nearly $36.5 million bond to renovate and expand the school was narrowly approved by just 33 votes on Election Day after two previous failed attempts.

BFA Fairfax’s campus encompasses the elementary school for Fairfax students and the middle and high school for the rest of the district.

Franklin North Supervisory Union Superintendent John Tague says that since 2017, the total student population has grown by about 70 to 80 students. He says the building hasn’t had major improvements in decades and it’s a tight squeeze, especially in the elementary school, noting that two classrooms were moved into the high school to make space.

The bond that voters narrowly approved will include the addition of five classrooms in the elementary school, four classrooms to the middle/high school, an enlarged science, band and chorus space, and a bigger cafeteria.

Tague says despite the growing numbers, they have generally good staffing levels to meet the need.

“We’ve been really lucky with our... staffing. We’ve been able to have, we’ve been able to hire teachers, fill in positions. You know, we obviously could always use paraeducators, we can always use substitute teachers, we can use bus drivers, plus classroom teachers. We’re, we’ve been very lucky,” he said.

Tague says the goal is for construction to start around next fall with the project being done by the end of 2024. The bond is estimated to add a range of $194 to $972 extra tax dollars for homeowners depending on residents’ home value.

Now that the bond has finally passed, what is the next step in BFA Fairfax’s development?

“We start working with architects. They come up with the actual final plans, go out to bid and then construction hopefully starts around September or October of 2023, with the project being fully done by the end of 2024. Mostly ready for kids to come back in, in the fall of 20 to 24 months, with some finishing touches, then the last probably into December of 2020. It’s an aggressive timeline, but you know, architects seem to think that we can make that work,” Tague said.

Despite the close vote numbers, town leaders said that a recount hasn’t currently been requested.