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FAQs on the 2018 Bond Proposal
Linda Mah
/ Categories: Communications

FAQs on the 2018 Bond Proposal

Bond Request Will Be on the May 8 Ballot

Facts for the May 8, 2018 Bond Election

Kalamazoo Public Schools

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, voters in Kalamazoo Public Schools will be asked to vote on a bond issue to update the district’s buildings and equipment.

Q: What is on the ballot?

A: Kalamazoo Public Schools is asking the public to support a $96.7 million bond issue. This bond issue provides funds to:

• Replace outdated facilities and equipment such as roofs, boilers, parking lots, lighting, windows, and buses (46% of the total bond);

• Improve/replace technology (10%);

• Replace Edison Environmental Science Academy (27%);

• Improve security in schools by modifying entrances and adding/replacing cameras (4%);

• Construct an addition to Phoenix High School (7%);

• Construct a districtwide kitchen (5%); and

• Fund mandatory costs related to the issuance of bonds (1%).

Q: Was the community surveyed to assess support for this proposal?

A: Yes. EPIC-MRA, an independent consulting firm, surveyed likely May voters. When respondents were asked how likely they would be to support a bond proposal of $117 million with a tax increase of 1.5 mills, 71 percent were supportive. Seventy-six percent were supportive of a proposal of $87 million with a tax increase of 1.0 mill, while 79 percent were supportive of a proposal of $68 million with a tax increase of 0.5 mills.

Q: How much would this millage cost taxpayers?

A: If approved, this proposal would increase tax rates by 1.25 mills compared with 2017-18, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $62.50 per year.

Q: Why replace outdated facilities and equipment?

A: The facilities and equipment used by Kalamazoo Public Schools are public property. The district has a duty to upgrade and replace items on a timely basis. If not addressed, serious issues could develop that would negatively affect the learning environment and/or create safety issues. Delaying certain replacements, such as roofs, could result in significantly greater costs to taxpayers.

Q: Why improve and replace technology?

A: Technology is critical to the learning process. Students need up-to-date technology to gain the educational experiences required to prepare for a 21st century world and job market.

Q: Why is Edison Environmental Science Academy recommended for replacement?

A: TowerPinkster, a local architectural and engineering firm, assessed the district’s facilities and found that Edison was in the greatest need of replacement of all district facilities.

Q: Why do we need to improve security?

A: Keeping students safe is a critical issue for schools. In a number of cases, school security can be improved by relocating main entrances, so visitors enter directly into offices rather than student-occupied areas. Security cameras need to be replaced and added where appropriate.

Q: Why is the addition to Phoenix High School needed?

A: Space is limited at Phoenix High School. This project includes the addition of four classrooms. It also includes construction of a gymnasium and locker rooms, which do not presently exist in the facility and are needed in a high school.

Q: Why construct a districtwide kitchen?

A: A districtwide kitchen would increase the opportunity for scratch cooking and create a more efficient operation. As a result, food quality would improve.

Q: What would be the impact to Kalamazoo Public Schools if this bond question does not pass?

A: Most of the projects funded by this bond are basic needs. Without the bond, these projects would still need to be addressed and would be paid through the general budget, which would require cutting educational programs and services for students.

Q: When is the last day to register to vote?

A: The last day to register to vote in this election is April 9, 2018.

Q: How can I find out where I vote?

A: You can find where to vote at the Secretary of State website (www.mich.gov/vote). Voting locations are also available from the clerk’s office in the city or township in which you reside. These offices can be reached at: City of Kalamazoo, (269) 337-8793; Oshtemo Township, (269) 216-5224; Kalamazoo Township, (269) 381-8080; and Texas Township, (269) 978-0710.

Q: Can I vote by absentee ballot?

A: Absentee ballots may be requested from the city or township clerk where you reside.

Please vote in this election. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

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