May 4, 2015

District News and Events

Dansville Middle School Building Update

In November, the Board of Education sent a letter informing you of a structural analysis of the middle school and the decision to replace the building. The Board determined this would be more financially responsible than to ask the voters for a bond to replace the roof, replace windows, reconstruct floors, and install joist hangers throughout the building.  These repairs are not due to neglect, but are needed to keep a 94- year- old wood structure with a brick veneer structurally sound for another 10+ years.

In December and January, we held community meetings to get feedback and established a community Facilities Improvement Team (FIT) to provide us direction on what the replacement should be.  NOW, the FIT has concept drawings, will be sharing costs and is seeking your feedback.

PLEASE ATTEND A COMMUNITY MEETING: 
Tuesday 4/28 at 7PM in the High School Commons—OR—go to www.dansville.org (click the “Facilities” button on the right-hand side of the page) to get information and provide feedback regarding the draft concepts by taking the survey located at the bottom of the ‘Draft Facilities Concept Drawings’ page.

2014-15 Calendar Update

To comply with state day and hour requirements, we will need to hold school a full day on Friday, June 5th, a full day on Monday, June 8th and a half day on Tuesday, June 9th.    School will dismiss at 11:45 am on Tuesday June 9th.  End of year school events will be adjusted accordingly.

Questions and Answers About Proposal 1

What is Proposal 1?
Proposal 1 asks Michigan voters to change how the state pays for roads and bridges. It also provides more secure funding for schools and local communities. It does this primarily through a 1 cent state tax increase.

What happens if voters approve it?
The sales tax would increase to 7 percent on Oct. 1, 2015. (Sales tax is not charged on groceries or prescriptions, and would not be charged on gasoline.) There would be an additional $1.2 billion for funding our roads, bridges and transportation programs. This revenue would be generated by removing the sales tax paid at the pump and replaced with a wholesale tax that generates a similar amount. All taxes paid at the pump are constitutionally guaranteed to go to transportation programs while the vast majority of sales tax would go to schools and local governments.

Why does Proposal 1 involve schools?
A large portion of the sales tax on fuel is dedicated to school funding. Proposal 1 will prevent the loss of revenue to schools when the sales tax is removed from the gas we buy at the pump. The 1 cent state sales tax increase will generate $300 million more for K-12 education. More important is the constitutional guarantee the School-Aid Fund can only go to K-12 and community colleges.

What happens to the roads if proposal 1 fails?
Michigan ranks 50th in per capita spending for roads and bridges. More than one of every four bridges in Michigan needs to be repaired, improved or replaced. There is not enough money available without Proposal 1 to get ahead of expected additional deterioration, experts say. If Proposal 1 is not approved, Michigan’s roads and bridges will continue to decline at a rapid rate. There is no backup plan approved by the Legislature at this time.

Vote May 5th!

Facilities Improvement Team

The Facilities Improvement Team met on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

  • The committee reviewed the roles of the construction manager and Kingscott as well as receiving an update regarding the process of hiring a construction manager.  The district issued an RFQ to five construction management firms.  After reviewing the four proposals that were received as well as getting feedback from two FIT members who work for a construction management firm that didn’t submit a proposal, three firms were chosen for interviews:  Wolgast, CSM and Miller Davis.  A committee consisting of the FIT co-chairs, the board president, the board facilities chair, the district facilities director and the superintendent interviewed the three firms during the day on March 12th.  The committee will make a recommendation to the board at is March regular meeting after which a construction management firm will be secured.
  • The co-chairs then shared some possible solutions for the district as it relates to the facilities. The DRAFT concepts that the committee viewed are all available at http://www.dansville.org/facilities-committee/.
  • The committee was then charged to go out into the community and get feedback regarding the concepts that they will then bring back to the next FIT meeting on March 26, 2015.

Please consider reviewing the concepts that are shown at: http://www.dansville.org/facilities-committee/ and then complete the online survey to have your feedback considered by the committee moving forward.

Non-Homestead Renewal Election on Tuesday, February 24th

Background: All school districts in Michigan are required to hold elections to levy 18 mills from non-homestead properties in order to receive full school funding each year. Dansville Schools has collected 18 mills since passage of Proposal A in 1994. Our last renewal election took place in May of 2011.

What does Non-Homestead mean? Non-homestead renewals have no impact on homeowners. This millage applies to local businesses, industrial and commercial property or other property that is not your primary residence.

What questions will be on the ballot on February 24th?
• The first question on the ballot is for the renewal of the current levy of 17.8218 mills that is currently being levied on all non-homestead properties.
• The second is an increase of up to 2 mills to restore millage lost to keep the non-homestead at the required 18 mills both now and for the entire period (through 2020). Note: No matter what, passage of this millage will result in no more than 18 mills being levied on non-homestead properties.

What is the impact of the Non-Homestead millage on Dansville Schools?
Dansville Schools collects $624,872 through this millage annually, which equals approximately $800 per pupil. The rest of our funding comes directly from the state in our per pupil Foundation allowance. The Non-Homestead millage equals about 8% of our total annual budget.

Why are there two questions on the ballot in February?
There are two questions on the ballot because we experienced a Headlee Rollback this year. This happens when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation.
Passage of both measures will also ensure that we will again be able to collect the full 18 mills if there are future Headlee rollbacks.
The first question is to renew the current millage of 17.8218 mills and the second question is to return the millage to 18 mills and to ensure that we will continue to collect the 18 mills in case of future Headlee rollbacks.

How can the Non-Homestead monies be used? These funds pay for expenses such as instructional materials, staffing, classroom supplies, textbooks and utilities.
Please be sure to vote on February 24th. All voting will take place at the Ingham Township hall except for voters in Wheatfield Township, who will vote at their location. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Amy Hodgson (hodgson@dansville.org/623-6120)

Dansville School Board Extends Thank You to Chris Thayer of C.A.T. Video Surveillance, LLC

Dansville parent and local business owner Chris Thayer expressed an interest to help Dansville Elementary with any of its video surveillance needs over the last summer and he followed through on that interest in a significant way this fall. Two outdoor color cameras were installed to view large portions of the playground along with all of the necessary wiring. An internal camera and monitor were installed in the office conference room. In addition, an improved DVR system was donated to capture the feeds from all six of our elementary cameras. Mr. Thayer’s generosity and willingness to help us improve the safety of our building is greatly appreciated. His company also worked for 10 hours to improve the surveillance in both the middle and high school buildings and did so at a reduced rate.

The Dansville Schools’ Board of Education expresses its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Mr. Thayer for his generous donation of both time and equipment to help improve the security of our K-12 facilities. Thank you for this important investment in our schools!

Dansville Schools Starts Begindergarten for the 15-16 School Year

Please click on “schools” and then “elementary” to read more about Begindergarten as well as Kindergarten for next year and Round up which will take place on March 4th.

New Amazon Fundraiser Links

Change to Amazon Fundraiser Link:

Thank you so much to everyone who has utilized our Amazon fundraiser link to shop online!  This very simple fundraising tool has helped raise extra funds for Dansville students with just a click of a button.  As of today’s date Dansville Elementary has raised $137 the middle school has raised $180 and the high school has raised $293 for a grand total of $610 for Dansville schools.  We were recently informed, however, that the Amazon fundraising links have been changed due to updating systems at Simple Fundraiser.  The new links for each school are as follows:

Dansville Elementary School:  http://amzn.to/1wEPNXC

Dansville Middle School:  http://amzn.to/1ADS77z

Dansville High School:  http://amzn.to/1ADS77z

Please make sure to share these links with your family and friends, it truly is a “simple” fundraiser!

Please Join in the Facilities Planning Process!

Background: The Board of Education has held two community meetings since mailing a letter to the entire community in November regarding the future of the Dansville Schools facilities. On December 4th and then on January 12th, the board shared with the community what information brought them to the point that they unanimously decided to recommend to the district that the middle school building be replaced with a different structure.
The main impetus for this decision was the Bergmann Report, which outlined the findings of an in-depth middle school structural analysis that was done over the course of a four-month period in the Spring and Summer of 2014. This report, along with a timeline of events over the past several years, maintenance documents and Recently Asked Questions are all available on the district’s website by clicking on the FACILITIES tab on the right side of the home page. We strongly encourage everyone to read the report and check out the information that is posted.
Have a voice in the process! As part of the facilities planning process, the district has established a Facilities Improvement Team (FIT) that will be led by co-chairs Chad Minnis and Janeen (Townsend) Tkaczyk. Chad and Janeen both graduated from Dansville and their families are long-time community members as well. The entire community has been invited to be part of the FIT and so far 30 community members are on the roster. If you or anyone you know would like to be part of helping the district create a plan that will eventually be shared with the board of education, please contact Chad (ceminnis@agristar.net), Janeen (jtkaczyk2703@gmail.com) or Amy Hodgson (hodgson@dansville.org) any time throughout the process.

The first FIT meeting will take place on Thursday, January 29th at 6:30 pm in the elementary library. The meetings are generally scheduled to take place every two weeks after that with a few tweaks due to spring break and conferences. Check out the Google calendar on the district website to confirm all meeting times and dates.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan Visits Dansville

Dansville Schools was honored to host State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan on Wednesday, January 7th. His tour included a visit to each building as well as special visits with some parents, staff members and board members and a special meeting with a group of secondary students.

At Dansville Elementary, Superintendent Flanagan visited a classroom where students were engaged in arts integration strategies during literacy instruction.  The students were learning new vocabulary words by working in teams to create frozen pictures of the definition.  Their classmates then guess the correct vocabulary word.

At Dansville Middle School, Mr. Flanagan visited a robotics class in action.  Robotics is a course that is offered as part of the Project Lead the Way STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) program where students work through a largely hands-on curriculum to program and build various robots.

Finally Mr. Flanagan visited a high school American Literature class, where every student has an iPad and the teacher was explaining the upcoming learning targets- student-friendly statements aligned to the Common Core that guide each student’s learning.

After spending more than four hours in our district, Mr. Flanagan shared his impressions with both WILX and the Lansing State Journal, as both media outlets were part of the tour as well.  When asked to speak about the visit Superintendent Flanagan said “It’s the learning of the future and they’re doing it now in Dansville.  Kids want to be active, they want to be on technology, they have the iPads here. And all of that is contributing to reading scores going up. ACT scores are going up. It’s just very inspiring.”

Click here to view WILX TV footage.

Click here to read the LSJ article.