Frequently Asked Questions
Looking to the future of Allegan Public Schools, the Board of Education is asking the community to consider a bond proposal at the Tuesday, May 4, 2021 election, for district-wide improvements. The bond proposal would address aging infrastructure in all of the District’s buildings, as well as create modern learning environments district-wide for all of APS learners. If approved by the voters, this bond proposal would generate $87,555,000 by extending the current debt millage rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key projects in this bond proposal?
- Renovations and updates to the High School
- Renovations and updates to the Middle School
- Construction of a new Elementary School for all students grades Kindergarten – Fifth
- Infrastructure and safety updates at the Early Childhood Center
- Infrastructure updates at the Transportation Building, Administration Building and Fieldhouse
Where can l find a list of the bond projects?
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, technology, and other capital needs. 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.
Why a bond proposal now?
The district currently operates seven school buildings built between 1950 and 1992, the newest building being the High School, originally constructed in 1958 with major additions and renovations completed in 1992. As the district looks to the future, the Administration and School Board have studied the impact of consolidating the three existing elementary buildings into a single elementary campus. This will provide a sense of community with adjacencies to other district amenities as well as the Middle School and High School buildings, operational efficiencies and improved staff access to all elementary students in one location. The district has been able to create a situation where its outstanding bonds are nearly paid off, and these improvements can be realized without changing the current debt millage rate for the Allegan community. In addition to the new elementary building, the district has completed a facility assessment to make sure that every building in the district and all systems within the buildings are properly planned for. The bond would bring core infrastructure systems (roofs, HVAC, and mechanical systems) up to date.
Would the approval of the bond proposal have any impact on our current operational budget?
While funding from this bond proposal is independent of district’s general fund operating budget, the proposed bond projects are expected to have a positive impact on the district’s general fund. It would allow the district to reallocate operating funds that are currently being spent on aging facilities, mechanical systems, and technology. The operational savings generated from new and cost-efficient facilities could be redirected to student programs and resources.
How would the bond proposal impact my property taxes?
If approved by voters, it is projected that the debt millage rate would not increase over the district’s current debt millage rate.
Allegan Public Schools currently levies 7.55 mills. If approved by voters, Allegan Public Schools would maintain this rate.
How does Allegan’s debt millage rate compare to neighboring districts?
Allegan Public Schools is currently mid-range in debt and sinking fund combined millage rates compared to neighboring districts. If approved by voters, the District would still remain in this range.
How would I know the bond funds would be spent the way they are supposed to be spent?
Michigan law requires that 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. An audit would be completed at the end of each stage of the bond project to ensure compliance.
Who was involved in determining what to include in the bond proposal?
Initial bond planning started with a detailed facility assessment to identify critical infrastructure needs, coupled with an internal list developed by district administration and operations staff. A community stakeholder group met multiple times to discuss needs and options. Allegan staff, parents, and community members were invited to participate in three community forums and three surveys in 2020 to help provide input, review, and prioritize the scope of the bond proposal. The final determination of scope was made by District administration and the Board of Education.
How does this plan impact students?
The school district’s plan would create safe and modern learning environments designed to meet the learning styles of our students. The plan would also provide upgrades to classroom environments such as lighting, flexible furniture, technology and updated security features district-wide.
What is being done to increase the safety of students and staff?
The new elementary building will be designed and built to today’s safety standards that will include separate secured entries for upper and lower elementary school students. It will also include separate and secure age appropriate play areas at the elementary, and separate parent and bus pick-up with safe separation for pedestrian traffic. This plan includes upgrades to the security at the middle school and high school buildings. At both buildings the offices would be reconfigured to improve security and a new secure entry would be created. In addition, at the middle school this plan would create safe separation for the pick-up/drop-off loop, protecting our students as they enter and exit school. A new bus road behind the high/middle school would also limit vehicle traffic and protect our students.
Why consolidate our elementary buildings into one location?
- Student Services
Allegan Public Schools employs many educational professionals who currently must travel from school to school to provide service to their students. These services include: Social Work, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychological Testing, Specials Teaching (Phys Ed, Music, Art, Technology), Title 1, and At-Risk. A consolidated campus would allow these services to be delivered to our students more efficiently by eliminating travel and allowing these professionals to better utilize their time in the service of our students.
- Educational Equity
Students that require intensive support currently have to leave their school and enter the school in which the services are provided. A consolidated campus would allow students to remain a part of their school in the event that their disability indicates the need for additional service allowing for more educational equity for those students. Additionally, educational equity can be improved by allowing all students to have access to the same clubs and extracurricular opportunities that would not be dependent upon which school the student attends.
- Parent/Family/Community Engagement
A consolidated campus would allow Parent/Teacher Organizations in our district to join forces in the best interest of all students when fundraising, organizing activities, and supporting teachers. Parental volunteers and mentoring programs such as Kids Hope could all operate more efficiently out of a consolidated campus.
- Class Size
Currently, class sizes are determined by the number of students in a certain grade level that happen to live in a certain geographic area in the district. This can result in overly large class sizes in one school and disproportionately small class sizes in another. In a grade center model, all students in a certain grade level would be together in the same school. This will allow class sizes to be averaged based on the overall number of students at that grade level creating balance for the students and the teachers.
- Teacher Collaboration
Collaboration between teachers is a proven methodology for school improvement. A consolidated campus would allow for increased collaboration among elementary teachers since the teachers within a grade level would be working together in the same building.
- Improved Food Quality
Currently lunch is cooked at the high school kitchen, transported to the elementary schools where it sits in warmers until lunchtime. A consolidated campus would have the kitchen and food service capability to offer improved food quality to our elementary students.
- Operational Efficiency
Operational efficiencies related to utilities, building upkeep/maintenance, busing, snow plowing, mowing/grounds keeping, security monitoring, and supervision would be captured in a consolidated campus model.
- Eliminating Perceived Competition
A consolidated campus would eliminate any perceived competition between elementary schools, with the goal of creating a more positive community culture.
Where will the new elementary complex be built?
Under the guidance of the Board of Education the District has worked with the City of Allegan, Allegan Township, and the property owner of the 90-acre parcel located directly south of the L.E. White Middle School (0 Sunset Drive). The District has a written agreement with the property owner to purchase the property if the bond proposal is approved by the voters.
What will happen to the existing elementary buildings?
The District is committed to finding the best use for the existing elementary buildings – Dawson, Pine Trails and West Ward. The District will work with the City of Allegan to sell these properties and plan for uses that best fit the goals of the City and County of Allegan. The district has budgeted money to raze the buildings and return the land to green space for future development or community use.
If the buildings are sold, what will be done with money from the sale of the buildings?
Federal tax law may require that all or some of the proceeds from selling the property be spent on projects that Allegan’s voters previously approved when they voted on past bond proposals. If that isn’t required by federal tax law, then the proceeds may go into the District’s General Fund.
If the buildings are sold, and bond proceeds are not needed to demolish the vacant buildings, what happens to the extra money that is no longer needed to demolish a building or buildings?
The District may either elect to enhance the projects that appear in the ballot language, or the proceeds that are no longer needed for demolition could be used to pay down the District’s debt, which would result in a reduced debt millage levy.
Voter-approved bond proceeds 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.
How much money would the bond proposal generate?
The proposal would generate $87,555,000 which would be spent over multiple years on district-wide school building and site improvements.
Would money from the bond proposal be used to pay teachers’ salaries and benefits?
No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a bond for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries, routine maintenance, or operating costs. Bond revenue must be kept separate from operating funds and bond revenue expenditures must be audited by an independent auditing firm.
If I rent a house, can I vote?
Yes, if you rent a house you can still vote. You must be a registered voter in the city or township you are living in and live within our district boundaries.
How do I register to vote?
Visit Michigan.gov/vote to register online, or contact your local city or township clerk.
It is recommended by the Secretary of State to register by mail by April 19, 2021 to participate in the May 4, 2021 election. Individuals may also register in-person at their local clerk’s office through May 4, 2021, with the required documentation. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit Michigan.gov/vote.
How is an absentee voter ballot obtained?
Due to COVID-19, the Secretary of State is expected to mail absentee voter ballot applications to all registered voters. Registered voters must complete and submit the application to receive their absentee voter ballot. To vote by mail, fill out the application and sign it, and then return it to your local clerk. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit Michigan.gov/vote. When filling out the application, if you check the box to be added to the permanent absentee voter list, you will get an application mailed to you before every election.
If you registered to vote after absentee voter ballot applications were mailed, applications may be obtained online at Michigan.gov/vote. Absentee voter ballots are available from March 20 through May 4, 2021.
Where can I find more information about this bond proposal?
- Visit the district website at www.apsbond2021.com
- Attend a public information forum
- Wednesday, March 17 at 6:00 pm
- Wednesday, April 14 at 6:00 pm
- Please see the website for additional details
Where and when will the vote occur?
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 is election day, but absentee voting can occur leading up to that date. All registered voters may cast an absentee voter ballot by mail. Voters may also cast a ballot at the polling location established by their city/township. If you have questions or do not know where you vote, please contact your city/township office. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
What are the key dates leading up to the Tuesday, May 4, 2021 election day?
- Registering to vote:
- The last day for voters to register by mail is April 19, 2021
- Voters may register in-person through May 4, 2021 (election day) with the required documentation
- Absentee Voting:
- Absentee voter ballots are available from March 20 until May 4, 2021
- Contact your local city or township clerk with questions
Would I be able to provide input regarding the design of the buildings?
Yes. If the bond proposal is approved by the voters, the community will have the opportunity to participate in the final planning, design, and implementation of the school expansions and improvements. A small committee for each building would be created for stakeholders to participate and provide input and feedback.
What is the ballot language?
ALLEGAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Shall Allegan Public Schools, Allegan County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Eighty-Seven Million Five Hundred Fifty-Five Thousand Dollars ($87,555,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of:
erecting, furnishing, and equipping a new elementary school building; erecting, furnishing, and equipping a science classroom addition to the middle school building; remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing, and equipping and re-equipping school facilities; acquiring and installing instructional technology and instructional technology equipment for school facilities; purchasing school buses; and acquiring, preparing, developing, improving, and equipping playgrounds, play fields, athletic fields and sites?
The following is for informational purposes only:
The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2021, under current law, is 0.14 mill ($0.14 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-five (25) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 5.03 mills ($5.03 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 $14,063,106 and the estimated total interest to be paid thereon is $18,617,723. The estimated duration of the millage levy associated with that borrowing is 26 years and the estimated computed millage rate for such levy is 7.55 mills. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.
The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $26,975,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is approximately $1,471,647.
(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.
If you have further questions, contact James Antione, Superintendent, at (269) 673-5431 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.