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Chelsea School District

CSD BOND PROPOSAL INFORMATION November 5, 2019

Future Planning: Safe and Modern Schools

The Chelsea School District Board of Education is asking the community to vote on a NO TAX RATE INCREASE bond proposal on November 5, 2019. If approved, it would provide district-wide improvements to address identified and ongoing facility needs based on years of strategic planning, facility assessments, and community input. If approved by voters, the bond proposal would generate $81,000,000 to complete the district-wide improvements and was developed to create safe and modern schools, and address the aging facilities. The Bond would be sold in 3 series protecting the District for the next 10-15 years. The total square footage of the buildings across the district is 660,000.  The average age of the District's school buildings is 49 years old. The State of Michigan defines the useful life of a school building at 40 years. Many core infrastructure systems have outlived their expected life cycles. The District has continued to address preventative maintenance as much as possible; simply to the point where systems can no longer be just be repaired but should be replaced.  In addition, the District has not addressed the changing needs of our students inside of the classrooms with flexible learning environments that promote collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication.  This bond will support modern learning environments for our students.

Press Release

What is a bond proposal and how can funds from a bond be spent?

A bond proposal is how a public school district asks its community for authorization to borrow money to pay for capital expenditures.

Voter-approved bond funds can be spent on new construction, additions, remodeling, site improvements, athletic facilities, playgrounds, buses, furnishings, equipment, and technology. Funds raised through the sale of bonds cannot be used on operational expenses such as employee salaries and benefits, school supplies, and textbooks.

Bond funds must be kept separate from operating funds and must be audited by an independent auditing firm.

What are the features of the safe and modern schools proposal?

  • Physical safety and security built into the renovation of the schools
  • Age-appropriate classrooms and learning spaces with integrated technology and flexible furniture to inspire 21st century learning
  • Safer and more efficient traffic flow during student drop-off and pick-up
  • Technology upgrades and maintenance
  • Bus Replacements
  • Buildings would be energy efficient and ADA-accessible 

What is Modern Learning???

Chelsea School District Tax Payers currently pay 7 mills of Bond Debt.  The proposed Bond would keep the tax rate at 7 Mills.  This means there would be no current tax rate increase. 1 Mill = 1/1000 of the SEV or Taxable Value of your home (typically about 1/2 of what your home is worth).  If you have a taxable value of $100,000 on your home (meaning you have a home worth about $200,000), you would pay $700 per year in taxes for 7 mills (1 mill would equal $100 and 7 Mills would equal $700.)

See Reference Table Below:

Tax Rate Over Time

School Districts in Washtenaw County Total Debt (includes rec. millage, sinking fund, and bond debt)

Ann Arbor 4.9172 Mills
Lincoln    7.4478 Mills
Chelsea       7.9178 Mills
Manchester  8.5 Mills
Dexter          8.5 Mills
Saline 8.8471 Mills
Ypsilanti 10.22 Mills
Whitmore Lake 10.39 Mills
Milan 13 Mills

A Facilities Assessment was conducted by Kingscott Architects and completed in the spring of 2017.  This study outlined the condition of our buildings, grounds, and sites across the District.  It divided the results into categories that needed to be addressed in 0-5 years, 5-10 years, and 10+ years.  In addition, a program study was completed by OHM and KingScott architects in 2019 to determine the needs in the area of programming and modernizing our buildings. The results of both assessments are included in links below:

Facilities Assessment

Program Assessment

The District assembled a Bond Study Team comprised of members of the community, students, parents, teachers, administrators, board members and other staff members.  This team's charge was as follows: The Bond Study Committee, acting as a good steward of the community’s resources, will review, analyze and provide input into a plan for upgrading Chelsea School Districts’ educational facilities to support learner-centered school communities and meet safety priorities aligned to the District’s Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals.

The Bond Study Team met several times, toured buildings, analyzed the program and facility studies, learned about modern learning, and heardfrom experts in the field.  They also recommended a survey be completed to gain a broader view of what our taxpayers think about a bond.  Their dedication to this process was invaluable. 

Below you will see presentations either made to the Bond Study Team or presentations they gave, and the EPIC MRA Survey results we compiled.

Bond Study Team Presentations

Presentations given by the Bond Study Team

EPIC MRA Survey Results

 

Voting Information:

Polls are open: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Poll locations: Voters may cast a ballot at the polling location established by their city/township.

Questions and Answers about the 2019 BOND PROPOSAL - Questions asked in community and bond study team meetings.

1.  What does our competition/neighboring school districts have with programming? Saline, Dexter?

Saline and Dexter both have passed Bonds in the last 3 years.  Saline’s Bond was for 67.5 million dollars and Dexter’s was for 72 million dollars.  Both schools have adopted modern learning environments with their bond and have used the money for deferred maintenance, as well.  Both districts are EdLeader 21 Districts and utilize the 4 C’s to facilitate instruction.  Both districts continue to create modern learning environments to accommodate the 21 Century student needs.

2.  How do you measure the impact of the increased non-teacher employees (social workers, psych, counseling, TC)?  Is any of it a report card measure?

While it is difficult to measure the impact of our resources that support social and emotional health, we do know that our staff that provide direct services in this area have maximum caseloads.  The number of students that are seeking mental health services continues to rise in Chelsea and across the state and nation. Additionally, instructional coaches and reading coaches have been employed in Chelsea to support our at risk students and to support our teachers in employing effective instructional techniques.


3.  What is the link between program improvements (modern learner) and student achievement (hard figures)?

The following are a few research studies that outline the importance of school facilities in making learning relevant and engaging.

https://sites.psu.edu/ceepa/2015/06/07/the-importance-of-school-facilities-in-improving-student-outcomes/

https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/classroom-design/effects-stimulating-learning-environment/

https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/active-learning/how-classroom-design-affects-student-engagement/

Blueprint for Tomorrow by Prakash Nair - http://hepg.org/hep-home/books/blueprint-for-tomorrow

https://www.ed.gov/stem

https://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=59305

4.  Is it possible for the committee to pursue a bond that is greater than $80 million?

It is possible for the committee to pursue a bond that is larger than $80 million, however, consideration of what the community will support is also important. 


5.  How do we balance creative new space with replacement of current equipment? 

Existing equipment will be evaluated for relevancy with any new room design, and if the existing equipment still provides value with learning.  New equipment could be considered with the proposed bond proposal for newly renovated rooms or building additions. 

6.  How does distance learning impact program assessment? 

Distance learning is something the Chelsea School District participates in currently with blended options for students in online courses at the middle school and high school.  Seat time waivers are issued for students who take these classes at home or in a location other than school.  

7.  Future busing projected needs? 

We will continue to have busing needs.  Fortunately, this is something the district  has done a good job of in terms of phasing in new buses as older vehicles are ready to be replaced.  Ideally, we would like to replace 2-3 buses per year based upon use and age. One bus costs about $85,000.

8.  How do we accommodate all types of learners?

There is not a one-size fits all approach with improving school facilities and educational delivery.  Providing options for learners and choices will be a consideration when moving forward with District building improvements.

9.  How do creating new learning spaces transfer to college/university learning environment? 

New renovations or building additions to accomodate new programming could allow opportunities for the District to create partnership programs with colleges and universities.  These partnerships opportunities could help provide our learners with valuable college prep experiences, and also expand our current educational offerings.

10.  With open design, how do we address safety?

With renovations, school safety can be intentionally designed into the overall solution, while also providing for areas of open collaboration.  When an emergency occurs within the school, staff and students must know how to effectively respond within mere moments. Practiced procedures produce effective results. The built environment must accommodate such response; namely, evacuation, reverse evacuation, lockdown, lockout, and shelter responses. Not one of these layers of security can solve the continuous safety concerns that schools are being challenged with today.  All layers - clean building and site layouts, decentralized offices, operational safety, technical safety, focused lighting, protective materials, clear-sight lines and many others – need to work together and hand-in hand. 


 

CHELSEA SCHOOL DISTRICT               

BONDING PROPOSAL

 

Shall Chelsea School District, Washtenaw and Jackson Counties, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Eighty-One Million Dollars ($81,000,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of:

erecting, furnishing, and equipping additions to and remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing, and equipping and re-equipping existing school buildings and other facilities; acquiring and installing instructional technology in school buildings; purchasing school buses; and preparing, developing, equipping, and improving playgrounds, athletic fields and facilities, and sites?

The following is for informational purposes only:

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2020, under current law, is .60 mill ($0.60 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a -0- mill net increase over the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty (20) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.07 mills ($3.07 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

The school district expects to borrow from the State School Bond Qualification and Loan Program to pay debt service on these bonds. The estimated total principal amount of that borrowing is $0.00 and the estimated total interest to be paid thereon is $38,182. The estimated duration of the millage levy associated with that borrowing is two (2) years and the estimated computed millage rate for such levy is 7.0 mills. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.

The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $23,065,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is approximately $3,342,068.

(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)