If Plymouth-Canton Community Schools has its way, voters in the district could hit the polls in May 2013 to decide whether to accept $117 million school bond proposal — and the closing of a historic middle school in Plymouth.
The bond, if approved, could include closing aging Central Middle School, which administrators say would be more cost-effective than renovating the building to implement more modern amenities.
Rather than building a new middle school, however, the district would look to spend about $28 million to improve and expand its existing middle schools to take in the additional students.
District identifies needs for improvement
The bond also would cover other building improvements, technology upgrades, network renovations and replacing outdated buses and district vehicles.
Jeanne Farina, assistant superintendent for instructional services, said classroom upgrades would provide students with a "21st-century" learning environment.
With the proposed bond, funds would be used to provide laptops or tablets for teachers, document cameras, portable digital recording carts, interactive projectors and other high-tech upgrades across Plymouth-Canton's elementary, middle and high schools, Farina said.
Phil Freeman, assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, said $9.1 million would be used to replace a total of 88 high-mileage buses over six years and 15 aging district vehicles would be replaced over six years for $417,650.
If Central Middle School is closed, Freeman said, there are two options on the table to improve and add to the district's existing middle schools.
One would fill the schools to 89 percent capacity while providing additions to three middle schools and adding the equivalent of about 27 classrooms to the tune of $27.743 million, and the other would offer additions to four middle schools with the equivalent of 33 classrooms, filling the schools to about 86 percent capacity for $25.712 million, Freeman said.
The bond, if approved would be broken into two series, Freeman said, with $53.4 million sold in June 2013, and $63.6 to be sold in late 2015 or early 2016.
No millage increase planned
While the bond would raise $117 million for the school district's improvements, taxpayers won't see an increase as the bond would merely extend their current debt levy of 4.10 mills from an existing millage, Freeman said.
If the bond is approved, Freeman said, taxpayers would pay the same amount in 2013 that they paid in 2012. The tax burden for 2013 would primarily cover the existing millage while beginning to chip away at the new millage.
By acting now, the district also can take advantage of unusually low interest rates, administrators said.
According to the district's projections, the district's existing millage would be paid off by 2030, and the new millage would be paid off by 2036. During this time, the tax burden would remain the same or decrease from 2012's amount each year.
In tangible figures, the district provided the following table to calculate the daily, monthly and yearly tax burden.Home Market Value Assessed Value Cost Per Day Cost Per Month 2013-14 Cost $150,000 $75,000 $0.07 $2.19 $26.25 $200,000 $100,000 $0.10 $2.92 $35 $250,000 $125,000 $0.12 $3.65 $43.75 $300,000 $150,000 $0.14 $4.38 $52.50
Bond talks still preliminary
Talks still are just beginning for the bond proposal, and discussions and projections will continue before school board members agree to put the bond to a public vote.
Administrators provided the following timeline for the millage, leading to its projected May 7, 2013 vote:
- December: Community receptivity survey
- December: Informal presentations
- Dec. 11: Board meeting (update on planning)
- Jan. 8, 2013: Board meeting — Board informally approves treasury qualifications and scope of projects
- Jan. 18, 2013: District and bond counsel meet with Department of Treasury
- Feb. 12, 2013: Board meeting — Board officially adopts resolution to call election (approves formal pre-qualification application)
- Feb. 26, 2013: Ballot language sent to election coordinator
- May 7, 2013: Election