August 28, 2015

District News and Events

A Letter From The Superintendent

Dear Aggie Family,

As this beautiful summer starts to wind down and thoughts turn towards fall, it is my hope that this newsletter finds you both well and ready for another school year! These last few weeks would be a great time to help gear your children up for the start of school by encouraging them to read, practice math facts and work on educational apps/online games. Transitioning sleep schedules at the beginning of September would also help students prepare for a successful start to the 2015-16 school year!

District Goals: At the end of each year, we analyze our district’s data to develop our goals for the next school year. The 2015-16 school year academic focus will again center around increasing student achievement in science, social studies and writing. We will also implement an entirely new math curriculum called “Go Math!” in every building! Thank you to the Dansville Schools Education Foundation and their supporters in the community. It is because of their financial commitment, in addition to help from Ingham ISD, that we were able to purchase this highly touted research-based math curriculum!

We will focus on two additional goals this year as well. The first is to create a culture of career and college readiness and the second is to help our Aggie Family learn more about the importance of key mindsets. You will learn more about each of these as the school year unfolds. We also remain committed to meeting the needs of all students by providing additional support classes and interventions in each of our buildings. Positive behavior will also continue to be taught and then recognized and reinforced through our Aggie Buck program in each building.

Facilities Improvements: We made several facilities improvements over the summer as we continue to implement our long-term asset management plan. Last summer a large portion of the high school roof was replaced, so we started to replace the carpet throughout the high school building this summer. The highest traffic areas-the high school office and hallways- have new carpet and then we plan to replace the carpet in the classrooms. The high school gym floor also received much needed and overdue work this summer as it was sanded down and repainted thanks to a partnership between the district and our Athletic Boosters. All of these improvements were made possible by the investment of the community in our school through your support of the sinking fund. Thank you!

We are also excited about the updated recommendation of the Facilities Improvement Team as outlined in their letter to the community that is included in this newsletter. We hope to continue to answer questions and get feedback throughout the year as we move closer to the May 2016 bond vote. Thank you to so many of you who have been part of the planning process and helped shape this entire proposal to fit the needs of our school and the community.

Why Choose Dansville Schools? It’s hard to narrow down in a paragraph what makes our district so unique and special. From academics to extracurricular opportunities, there is no other district in which I would rather have my own children learn and grow- both as students and as people. If I had to choose one aspect of the district that sets us apart, it is the link between our school and our community- it’s this whole concept of being an Aggie Family. Dansville Schools is about so much more than just educating students. We are about investing in each student and each family. We are about building relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

It is a privilege to serve the students, families and Dansville community and I sincerely hope you realize that none of what happens at our school is possible without a strong partnership with our school families and our wonderful community. Please let me know if there is anything we could to strengthen these relationships or our school.

Amy Hodgson, Superintendent

Facilities improvement Team Update

Click here to read an update regarding the new recommendation that was presented to the school board on June 15, 2015 by the Facilities Improvement Team.

What all of this means is that because we recently found out that a state program (called the School Loan Revolving Fund) is expected to open back up, by waiting for a May 2016 election, we can put the entire proposal on the ballot as one question for essentially the cost of the original “Question 1”, which is 5.33 mills.

Facilities Improvement Team Reconvenes

There have been some developments at the state level that could impact the timing and millage rate for the upcoming bond proposal. After speaking with the district’s financial advisor, Kingscott and Miller-Davis, the district shared this information with the Facilities Improvement Team co-chairs and they have chosen to reconvene the team on Tuesday, June 9th at 6:30 PM to consider this new information. The FIT will then decide if they want to make any changes to their recommendation to the school board.

Facilities Update

At the regular May 18, 2015 Board meeting, the Dansville Board of Education approved the following:

a) Accept the recommendation from the FIT as presented.
b) Authorize Kingscott Associates/Miller Davis Company to prepare and submit
a pre-qualification application to the Michigan Department of Treasury in June
2015.
c) Seek approval from the Michigan Department of Treasury to place two
proposals on the November 2015 election ballot seeking voter approval of a
capital improvement bond program as follows:
1) Question 1 for $16.5M with a tax millage increase of 5.05 mills for
replacement of the current Middle School facility with a high school
structure
2) Question 2 for an additional $6.7M with a tax increase of 2.05 mills to
address other identified school complex deficiencies that would also
enhance the community’s use of our facilities

Facilities Update

At a special board meeting on Monday, May 11th the FIT committee gave a presentation and recommendation regarding our facilities to the Board of Education. Please click here to view the presentation.

Facilities Update

Dear Aggie Family,

First the board and the district would like to thank everyone in our Aggie Community for your input and help as we have been working through a rigorous planning process regarding our facilities over the past several months.  We have worked hard to keep this process open and many valuable suggestions have greatly improved the proposals that have been considered.

After several months of meeting, the Facilities Improvement Team will be taking their recommendation to the Board of Education at a specially scheduled meeting on Monday, May 11th at 7 pm in the elementary library.  We hope you’ll consider attending and we again want to thank so many of you who have participated in this important planning process for Dansville Schools.

Facilities Update

In November, the Board of Education sent a letter informing the entire community of a structural analysis of the middle school and the decision to replace the building with a different structure. 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.

Rather than taking a traditional approach to the planning process where a small group decides what will be on the ballot and then tries to get support from the community, the Dansville Board of Education has chosen to establish an open planning process. They committed from the start that all of the meeting notes would be posted, the meetings would all be posted and remain open to new members and the concepts would be shared online with a chance for community members to give feedback through an online survey.

In December and January, the district held community meetings to get feedback and established a community Facilities Improvement Team (FIT) made up of volunteers, to provide us direction on what the replacement should be. For the last few months, the FIT has been getting feedback regarding several concept drawings. They have also been sharing costs and seeking your feedback. The direction that has been given was to keep the buildings connected and to build a new high school, moving the middle school students into the current high school.

The community was invited to get a full update regarding the planning phase from the FIT at a Community Meeting on Tuesday, April 28th in the HS Commons. The FIT shared what is has been working on and again asked for feedback from those in attendance.

The FIT will meet again on Thursday, May 7th at 6:30 PM in the elementary library to finalize the recommendation that will be presented to the board. The team will then share their recommendation with the Board of Education on Monday, May 11th at a special meeting at 7 PM in the elementary library.

The Board of Education will take action on the recommendation from the FIT at their regular meeting on Monday, May 18th at 7 PM in the elementary library. This will determine next steps regarding what will be proposed to the community.

The board and the district will then have to undergo several steps to prepare for the recommended proposal(s) to be on the November ballot. The district will continue to answer questions and share information throughout the next several months. Folks will be available at the Memorial Day parade and at the Ingham County Fair to answer questions and explain what has been done in this planning phase of the facilities improvement process.

Please go to www.dansville.org and click the “Facilities” button on the right-hand side of the page to get information regarding the district’s maintenance plans, facilities plans and posted answers to recently asked questions.

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.