Questions and Answers

Why now?

We decided to pursue a potential bond proposal based on needs we already identified before we brought in experts to help us. The district’s last two bond issues were approved in 2001 and 2011. While our maintenance staff has done a superb job taking care of our facilities; there are items and concerns that must be addressed now.

Why is this bond proposal important for the Huron School District?

In order to protect the community’s past investment in our school district, the bond program, if approved, would provide facility improvements that support teaching and learning, improve safety and security, and upgrade operational efficiencies including heating and electrical. It is the intent of the District and the Board of Education to maintain quality programs and facilities in order to attract and retain students.

Are te proposed improvements in alignment with the District’s overall Mission and Goals?

Yes. Every decision was based on:

The bond proposal is in alignment with our district strategic plan, mission, vision, beliefs, and bold initiatives, developed during the 2017-2018 school year. Making recommendations based on what we believe to be the very best interests of our students and the communities we serve maintaining the current school debt millage rate of 7.0 mills (No tax rate increase over current levy).

What process did the district pursue to develop this bond request?

The district worked with IDI to complete facility use studies for each of the buildings in the school district.

The district worked with Middle Cities to complete a student population growth study, detailing student growth projections for the next five years.
In the Summer of 2018, Granger Construction and IDI Architecture updated the district’s Facilities Assessment Report to verify already identified facility infrastructure needs, and to document any additional findings.

IDI conducted walk-throughs at every building and programming sessions with HSD staff to understand and document program needs across all grade levels.

In October 2018, the Bond Steering Committee, comprised of staff, students, parents, board members and other community members (32 members), was formed to analyze and prioritize the infrastructure and program needs identified.

Six steering committee meetings and building tours were held, culminating in a recommendation to the Board of Education on February 11, 2019.
The Board of Education unanimously supported moving forward with a May 2019 bond election in the amount of $49,075,000 million.

Who served on the Bond Steering Committee?

  • Laura Dimambro
  • Shannon Hilliker
  • Joe Nickel
  • Heather Zilka
  • Justing Grzywacz
  • Debra Krauss
  • Cory Roupe
  • Kurt Mrocko
  • Tasha Clelland
  • Barb Nowitzke
  • Martin Salazar
  • Sandy Regets
  • Roxanne Brinkeroff
  • Sarah Gyolai
  • Keith Nappo
  • Mike DiMambro
  • Trisha Thomas
  • Bianca Sarns
  • Kim Julio
  • Steven Hudock
  • Scott Ferguson
  • Beth Stapleton
  • Cathy Farrell
  • Julie Martin
  • Kathy Springer
  • Erika Hussey
  • Cory Pengelly
  • Gina Giles
  • Jean Gilbert
  • Felicia Miller
  • Megan O'Brien
  • Dana Town
  • Jill Marvaso
  • Wendy Nitzkorski

Does the Board of Education support the proposal?

Yes. The Board of Education voted unanimously to support to support the proposed bond.

How would the money be used?

The bond sale would raise $49.075 million to be paid off over the course of the next 29 years and 10 months. The money would be used in the following general areas with the following percentages devoted to each:

Huron High School: 27%
Renton Junior High: 21%
Miller Elementary: 12%
Brown Elementary: 15%
New Kindergarten Center: 21%
Athletics: 4%
Bus Garage: Less than 1%

Please share building-by-building proposal improvements.

Brown & Miller Elementary Schools – Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule; Exterior & interior doors, frames and hardware; New classroom additions & STEM upgrades including STEM Lab furniture and equipment; New roof replacement; Mechanical system controls upgrades; New drinking fountain replacements; Energy efficient LED lighting replacement in buildings and parking lots; Replace public address system and clocks; Parking/pavement replacement and additional parking; and Infrastructure improvements

Bus Garage – Toilet room renovation/ADA compliance; and Replace bus railing barrier

Kindergarten & Early Childhood Center – New kindergarten & Early Childhood center to house kindergarten & young-five programs for our district, as well as existing GSRP, Pre-School, & Latch-Key programs. Included will be all furnishings, classroom technology, an auxiliary gym and appropriate parking/paving.

Renton Junior High – New secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule; Exterior & interior doors, frames & hardware; New classroom and science additions; Classroom renovations; New roof replacement; Toilet & locker room renovations/ADA compliance; New lockers, flooring and plumbing replacements; Mechanical system control upgrades; New drinking fountain replacements; Energy efficient LED lighting replacement in the building and parking lots areas; and Replace public address system and clocks.

Huron High School – Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule; Exterior & interior doors, frames and hardware; Additional student lockers and locker renovation; New roof replacement; Science classroom & STEM classroom renovations, including STEM technology & furnishings; Toilet room renovation/ADA compliance; Add private shower areas to locker rooms; Mechanical system control upgrades; New drinking fountain replacements; Replace hot water recirculation piping and storm sewer system, Energy efficient LED lighting replacement in the building and parking lot areas; Replace public address systems and clocks; Replace electrical systems in kitchen; and Parking expansion & loop parking

Athletic Facilities – Replace track and event areas; New sidewalk around track; Synthetic turf for athletic field; and Energy efficient LED lighting replacement for stadium and parking areas.

What technology improvements are planned?

Where new rooms are created or added, supporting computers, projectors, speaker and interactive boards will be provided to support the curriculum.

How much money would be invested in transportation and what would it be used for?

We are investing a small amount (less than 1%) into minor renovations to a restroom in the bus garage, and replacement of the bus railing. This constitutes $35,979 in renovations to this area.

What security enhancements will be made?

Sunnyside Elementary (New Kindergarten Center) - Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule, door hardware, fire alarm system, LED lighting in buildings and parking lots, new public address system

Brown Elementary – Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule, door hardware, LED lighting in buildings and parking lots, new public address system, new Fire Alarm System.

Miller Elementary – Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule, door hardware, fire alarm system, LED lighting in buildings and parking lots, new public address system.

Renton Junior High - Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule, door hardware, fire alarm system, LED lighting in buildings and parking lots, new public address system.
Huron High School - Secure entry renovation with security pass thru windows between office and vestibule, door hardware, fire alarm system, LED lighting in buildings and parking lots, new public address system

Bus Garage – none

Note that security cameras district-wide are being funded from a grant that district has already received, and thus independent from the bond proposal.

What kind of energy and cost-saving improvements are planned?

New mechanical controls and new unit ventilators in selected locations will be installed.
New LED light fixtures will be installed in new rooms and selected locations.

Will passage increase our current bond millage rate?

No. The current school millage rate is 7.0 mills. If this bond passes, the rate will remain at 7.0 mills

Why not use the district’s operating budget to fund the needs listed in the proposal?

The district’s operating funds are used for day-to-day expenses - like the cost of classroom instruction, utility bills, fuel for buses and employee salaries. If there is money left over, it can be used for capital improvements. However, most of that money comes from the state and that money is decreasing. The district’s financially stressed operating fund has little room to pay for capital projects.

How would Bond 2019 impact learning environments for teachers and students?

The heating and ventilation improvements, in addition to the classroom furnishings, would provide a more comfortable and healthy learning environment for the students and for our teachers. Research has shown that with proper environmental conditions, students focus and attention increase. Additionally:

The new kindergarten and early childhood center will provide a learning area that is custom fitted for young children. All kindergartners in the district will attend school in this building, thus giving students a consistent curriculum and a building that meets young children’s needs.

Improving and adding to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) labs and classrooms will assist the students with 21st-century learning.

Addition classrooms will provide additional learning space and help with the overcrowding in the classrooms.

Security concerns by parents and students are now addressed and would provide a feeling of a safer environment.

Classroom renovations will allow for additional technology to be used in the classrooms.

Will approval help to retain current students and attract new ones?

We have been told many times that parents choose to live in our district because of our schools. Public schools in Michigan receive their funding from the State on a per-pupil basis. Simply put, the more students that attend schools in our district, the more programs and classes we can offer. Since parents have choices regarding where their children go to school, we want to make HSD schools as attractive as possible to prospective homebuyers. We also strive to maintain the quality of teachers and staff and instruction opportunities on which our District’s positive reputation is based.

How will this proposal benefit residents who don’t have students in the district?

There are numerous benefits for residents without school-aged children. District facilities and sites are regularly used by community members who do not have children attending District schools. HSD takes pride in its role as an important community resource and partner. We are regularly told that the value and vitality of our community significantly depends on the quality and marketability of our schools and that great schools help to maintain local property values. The HSD Board believes in their role of good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. This extends to the belief that it is in our community’s best interests to protect its investments and to attract (and retain) families and businesses to our area.

Will bond dollars be used for staff salaries or other district expenses?

No. Money can only be spent on what is identified in the bond application. By law, bond dollars cannot fund employee salaries or district operational costs.

If the bond proposal is approved, what are the next steps?

If approved by the voters on May 7th, detailed design of the projects would begin following election day. Planning and design would take place during an 8 month – 1 year period following the bond vote, with involvement by school personnel and the planning committee. We would expect to start some level of construction in June of 2020 with work likely continuing through the end of the year of 2022.

When will the proposed improvement projects begin and end?

Construction projects are expected to start in the summer of 2020; completion of all projects is expected by the end of 2022.

Will special emphasis be placed on hiring local contractors and suppliers?

All new school construction, renovation and major projects are competitively bid according to the parameters listed in the MCLA 1267 of the Revised School Code and Board policy. Notices will be provided, and meetings held to encourage locals vendors and contractors to participate in the bidding and procurement process.

How can we be assured that the District won’t be asking for additional improvements (bond issues) in the future?

This bond proposal addresses certain current and anticipated needs of the District that we have identified for the next ten years. The reality of the school funding structure in Michigan is that we choose bond issues or sinking funds, or a combination of both, for school infrastructure improvement to avoid drawing on the district’s operating funds and away from programs and the classroom. The history of our District is that school infrastructure has been accomplished using bond issues. Future infrastructure needs will require additional bond funding or alternative funding sources, such as a pay-as-you-go sinking fund. Proposals to generate additional revenue for Huron School District will always be presented to area voters for their approval.

When was the district’s last bond proposal passed and how the revenue generated invested?

The last two bond issues were passed in 2001 and 2011. Improvements were done in all district buildings, and expansions to address student enrollment was accomplished at Brown, Miller and the High School.

What is the plan to keep facility improvement disruptions to a minimum?

Work at our school buildings would be scheduled in a way that would limit interference with day-to-day operations or community safety. Most of the construction work would be completed during the summer months. When ongoing work occurs during school days, there would be a clear separation between construction and school operations. Safety is paramount and would be the key factor in determining the construction sequencing.

What is the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit?

The Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit is a method through which some taxpayers can receive a tax credit for an amount of their property tax that exceeds a certain percentage of their household income. This program establishes categories under which homeowners or renters are eligible for a Homestead Property Tax Credit. Please consult your tax provider to determine if you are eligible for this tax credit.

What are the key dates leading up to the bond vote?

Monday, April 22, 2019 - Final day to register to vote (other than in-person)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 8 p.m. May 7, 2019 - Period to register to vote (in-person only) at city/township clerk’s office

Friday, May 3, 2019 - 5 p.m. - Final day to receive Absentee Ballot (via 1st Class U.S. Mail)

5 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2019 - 4 p.m. May 7, 2019 – Period to get Absentee Ballot

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - Election Day

Please Note: First-time voters MUST vote in person if they registered to vote by mail or on-line

What is the procedure for absentee voting? 

Applications for Absentee Ballots are available:

Note: Once absentee ballots are available, you can walk into your clerk’s office, receive an absentee application, fill it out, and immediately be given your ballot to cast your vote.

 

Will there be additional public meetings to learn more about the bond proposal?

Yes. The following Community Forums are scheduled.

  • 5:30 p.m. - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 @ Brown Elementary
  • 5:30 p.m. - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 @ Miller Elementary
  • 5:30 p.m. - Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ Renton Jr. High School
  • 5:30 p.m. - Thursday, April 25, 2019 @ Huron High School

How can I request a district representative to speak at a neighborhood, service club or business organization meeting?

Please contact Superintendent Donovan Rowe using our Contact Form.

 

Who may I contact if I have additional questions?

Please contact Superintendent Donovan Rowe using our Contact Form.

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