Michigan School Tech, Security Funding Heads to Voters

Two metro Detroit school districts are hoping voters sign off on $120 million bond for new student devices and upgrades to school security systems.

by Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press / May 7, 2018
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(TNS)  — There's nearly $120 million on the line Tuesday in two metro Detroit school districts —Roseville Community Schools and Trenton Public Schools — with big bond proposals covering a range of projects.

In all, six school districts in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are floating proposals on Tuesday's ballot. In addition to the two bond proposals, voters in the Bloomfield Hills, Ecorse, Southfield and Van Dyke school districts are asking voters to OK millages that will pay for big-ticket projects.

Here's what to expect Tuesday if you live in any of the six school districts.

1. Technology focus of Roseville Community Schools' bid

Voters in Roseville Community Schools will weigh in on a $59 million bond proposal that, if approved, will allow the district to purchase a device such as a tablet or laptop for each of the district's students.

Technology is a large part of the proposal, which also includes money for safety and security upgrades, as well as facility upgrades. The district enrolls about 4,700 students.

"The technology we have is going on over 10 years old," said Joe Genest, communications director for the Roseville district. "We wanted to make sure our students have some upgraded technology, as well as the infrastructure to support it."

The bond covers 20 years and included in it is routine replacement of technology about every six to seven years, Genest said.

Also covered by the proposal: Upgrading school entrances to make them more secure, upgrading the security system and adding emergency lighting.

"We just want to make sure our students are as safe as possible when they're in school," Genest said.

Impact: The owner of a home with a taxable value of $45,000 (and a market value of $90,000), would pay about $110 additional annually.

For more information, go to www.rcs.misd.net/election.html

2. A proposal with district-wide impact in Trenton

In Trenton Public Schools, voters will face a $57 million bond proposal that includes projects district officials say will impact every student and every facility.

Most of the projects involve remodeling and upgrading school buildings and other facilities, according to the district's web site.

That includes remodeling and constructing two additional kindergarten classes at elementary buildings, improving energy efficiency and student safety, and upgrading and adding technology equipment. Improvements also would be made to school sites, including playgrounds, parking lots, traffic flow and athletic facilities.

Impact: The 20-year bond would cost the owner of a home with a taxable value of $50,000 about $200 annually.

For more information, go to www.trentonschools.com

3. Replacing a millage in Bloomfield Hills

The Bloomfield Hills Schools' proposal would allow for the replacement of a sinking fund millage, which is set to expire in December. A sinking fund is a special millage that pays for major improvement projects.

The .7165-mill, six-year proposal would generate $2.5 million a year. District officials say they are opting to replace the millage because recent updates to state law now allow new sinking fund millages to cover safety, security and technology projects.

The money would be used for building repairs, security upgrades and technology upgrades.

Impact: The owner of a home with a taxable value of $200,000 would pay about $140 additional annually.

For more information, go to www.bloomfield.org

4. Getting facilities up to par in Ecorse

In Ecorse Public Schools, Tuesday's ballot includes a proposal to create a 3-mill sinking fund for 10 years. It's a special millage that allows school districts to collect revenue to complete major repair projects.

Superintendent Josha Talison said the millage would fund building upgrades for all schools in the district, including roof repairs, exterior lighting and other repair projects.

"We have some serious capital upgrade needs in our district," Talison said. "Facilities have not been up to par."

Impact: The owner of a home with a taxable value of $20,000 would pay an additional $60 annually.

For more information, call the district's main line at 313-294-4750.

5. Facility improvements in Southfield

A proposal in Southfield Public Schools would allow for the creation of a .70-mill sinking fund for 10 years.

The proposal includes roofing work at a number of buildings, including the replacement of roofs at Vandenberg, McIntyre and Thompson schools as well as Bussey Center for Early Childhood Education.

Also included: Mechanical work, paving work and other projects.

Impact: The district says the millage will not result in an increase in school taxes because it refinanced bonds in 2017, resulting in a .70 reduction in the debt millage rate.

For more information, go to www.southfieldk12.org

6. Range of projects on tap in Warren

In Van Dyke Public Schools, voters will weigh a proposal to create a one mill sinking fund for 10 years.

The district says the money will be used for building repairs, security projects, technology upgrades and the repaving of sidewalks and parking lots.

Impact: The owner of a home with a taxable value of $50,000 would pay an additional $50 annually.

For more information, go to www.vdps.net

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