October 21, 2017

Recently Asked Questions

The Board of Education has established this venue to answer questions that have been raised by the community as the board endeavors to share information throughout this facility improvement process. 

  1. BOND PROPOSAL

What is the District asking for as part of this Bond Proposal?

The Bond Proposal requests funds to:

  • Raise $26.50 Million for projects at ALL SCHOOLS with a 5.40 Mill Bond issue

  • ACADEMICS – 75.3%

    • New high school building

    • Updated middle school science labs

    • Increased instructional technology district wide

    • Honor and reflect the community’s historic character

  • SECURITY AND SAFETY – 5.3%

    • Improved parent drop-off areas for all schools

    • Dedicated bus drop-off loop to improve traffic flow

    • Secure entrances added to all schools

    • Safety and security upgrades throughout the district

    • All buildings remain connected

  • EXTENDED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES – 19.4%

    • Elementary gymnasium with platform for music, band, and drama

    • Community fitness area with walking/jogging track

    • Elementary playground improvements

    • Regulation-sized outdoor fields

 How much will the Bond Proposal cost?

  • Bond Proposal = $26,500,000 Million for 5.40 Mill increase over the current levy.

Explain how the Bond Proposal was determined?

  • The Facility Improvement Team, led by volunteer community members, reviewed all of the District’s needs identified through a community survey, by school personnel and by the Architect/Engineer. Needs with the greatest amount of community support were put into the Bond Proposal.

  1. FUNDING / TAXES

How much will it cost me?

  • About $18.00/month for a home with a taxable value of $40,000. Taxpayers may see additional tax credits to reduce this amount based on their individual circumstances. Visit the tax calculator for the most accurate information.

*Go to www.dansville.org  on the homepage and use the tax calculator for more details on your specific situation.

What interest rate can the District expect to pay if the Bond passes?

  • 5.0% for 29 years and 9 months.

When do we start paying on the Bonds?

  • Bonds are expected to be issued by August 2016 and will be reflected in the winter 2016 debt levy.

Why don’t we use our current Sinking Fund to build the new building? Wouldn’t that be better than a Bond?

  • Sinking Funds provide a limited, annual stream of revenue for smaller construction projects.

  • Sinking Fund millage rates are capped, thus higher rates and more time are required to produce needed revenue.

  • A Sinking Fund would not provide enough revenue to address the immediate needs of our District’s facilities.

What can the Bond funds be used for?  What can the Bond funds NOT be used for?

  • Allowed expenses include major remodeling, new construction, technology, and furniture.

  • Bond funds cannot be used for facility and bus or building repairs/maintenance, instructional materials, teacher or administrative salaries.

 Will the Bond dollars be spent on staff salaries or expenses?

  • Money can only be spent on what is identified in the Bond application. By law, Bond dollars cannot fund employee salaries or District operational costs.

What is the School Loan Revolving Fund and how will it help me as a taxpayer of the District?

  • The School Loan Revolving Fund (SLRF) is a self-sustaining funding program controlled by the Michigan Department of Treasury that makes loans to school districts to assist with making debt service payments on state qualified bonds issued under the School Bond Qualification and Loan Program. Any money repaid by school districts on loans made by the SLRF are deposited back into the fund for future use.

  • Dansville Schools received a wonderful opportunity to utilize a State of Michigan funded program called “The School Loan Revolving Fund (SLRF)” for a portion of the funding on this project. The minimum millage amount required to participate in this program is 7.0 mills. Prior to November 2015 this program was not available for use. When it reopened in 2015 Dansville Schools decided to take advantage of this opportunity to save taxes for Dansville taxpayers.

The current millage (1.60 mills) will be increased by 5.40 mils in order to utilize this program (for a total millage of 7.00 mils). Without utilizing this program, the same amount of bond funding ($26.5 million) would require a millage increase of 8.45 mills (for a total millage of 10.05 mills). With the SLRF program, the millage is capped at 7.0 mils and is projected to remain at that level for 28 years.

For a homeowner with a taxable value of $40,000 the millage increase WITH the SLRF Program would be $216 annually. WITHOUT the program, the millage increase would be $338 annually, so this results in a tax payer savings of $122 annually.

  • When the District uses the SLRF Program the taxpayer’s millage is capped at 7.00 mills for school debt. Without this program the increase in millage would be 8.45 Mills instead of 5.40 (total 10.05 mils instead of 7.00 mils) for the same amount of bonding capital

  • This State funded program was closed in May 2015 when it reached the funding cap set by the legislature. Due to school districts repaying debt to the program, it reopened in November 2015. Dansville Schools capitalized on this opportunity and rescheduled the bond election from November 2015 to May 2016 to take advantage of the program. The program could close again if the funding cap is reached. This may be the only chance that the Dansville community has to capitalize from the use of this program!

  • Utilizing the SLRF, Dansville Schools is able to provide more benefit to our students with this current bond than ever before. This bond will cost the taxpayers 5.40 mils to generate $26.50 Million dollars. In 2005, the proposed bond questions totaled 6.06 mills and would have generated a total amount of $17.00 Million.

  1. ELECTION INFORMATION

When is the Bond Election?

  • Tuesday May 3rd, 2016. Polls are open from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM.

Where do I vote?

  • All voters will vote at Ingham Township hall except for residents of Leslie and Wheatfield townships, who will vote at their respective township halls.

 How do I become a registered voter?

  • To vote in this election you must be registered to vote no later than Monday April 4th, 2014. You can register to vote for federal, state, and local elections by mail; at your county, city, or township clerk’s office; or by visiting any Secretary of State branch office. You must register at least 30 days before the election. You must also re-register to vote whenever you move to a new city or township. 

  1. REASONS WHY

Why try to pass this Bond now?

  • When the board received the Bergmann report in September of 2014, it was made it clear that the cost of extending the middle school structure’s life has exceeded the capacity of our sinking fund.  Our operations budget is also not sufficient to handle this type of investment.  Consequently, the board can now foresee the need to ask the voters for funding just to keep the building in operation. The board members have stated that the money outlined in the report that would be needed to keep the building in operation would be better spent on a new, safer facility with lower operating costs.  Being brick on wood instead of brick and metal, the middle school building was not built to last forever and has more than served its purpose for the district and the community.

With improvements, are we considering energy efficiency and long-term maintenance?

  • YES, building envelop, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems will be designed to high energy efficiency standards.

 Why haven’t the buildings been maintained throughout the years?

  • Dansville Schools has funded ongoing cleaning and maintenance of the major “systems” for our facilities. However, our middle school is becoming increasingly more challenging to maintain. The Bergman Report estimates that it will to cost roughly $5 million over the next five years to keep the building in service for another 10-20 years. The first million dollars or so is largely for replacing the roof, reconstructing the bell tower, and repairing the horizontal window supports (these are the Priority 2 items). The next million dollars or so (adding up to a total of $2.5 million for both Priority 2 and Priority 3 items) is for replacing window systems, removing the vines, installing joist hangers, and bringing the library floor up to current code. The next $2.5 million (which gets us to the $5 million total) is the rough estimate for operational things like heating, electrical, technology, etc. that will come due during the time the building’s life is extended by the other investments.  Unless a commitment is made to extend the building’s life even further (which we believe is cost-prohibitive) these investments would never be fully realized. The repairs recommend in the report are not due to neglect or planned obsolescence.  They are the repairs that would need to be made eventually and which we would have found through normal monitoring before they caused a problem.  They came to light now, and all at once, because we went beyond normal monitoring and asked an expert to look.

What about Technology upgrades?

  • The Bond will provide a strong educational technology infrastructure that can support current technology needs and will allow for technology to be updated as needed.

  • Technology Upgrades Include:

    • Instructional technology for classrooms

    • Updating computers throughout the district

    • Security and access control system upgrades throughout all buildings

Why do we need to make so many major improvements at this time?

  • The only way for a school District to make significant facility improvements in Michigan is through a Bond issue

  • The history of Dansville’s current buildings is nearly 100 years long. It’s been almost 20 years since any major additions or changes were accomplished. The following chart illustrates the ages of our buildings;

BUILDING

ORIGINALLY CONSTRUCTED

MAJOR ADDITIONS

REMODELLING

Elementary

1940’s

1959 and 1971

Continually

Middle School

1921

1940 and 1954

Continually

High School

1977

1996

Continually

  • The life expectancy of most building systems ranges from 40 to 50 years. Just like your home, there is a time when major improvements must be made to protect your investment. It’s much easier and more cost effective to perform major improvements at one time rather than spread them out into several separate, smaller projects

  1. VOTING NOW

If we do not pass the Bond, how do we make some of the much needed repairs to the Middle School?

  • Our General Fund can only support minor general repairs. The sinking fund also doesn’t collect enough revenue to handle the type of large replacements (i.e. failure of a roof or boilers) the middle school is facing.  The district will have to go to the taxpayers for an increase in revenue through a bond or additional sinking funds if we do not pass the bond.  One way or another, the taxpayers will be asked to make an investment in our schools.

Is now a good time to do a Bond project?

  • Yes, absolutely! Facing unprecedented economic challenges in Michigan, the District realizes that it is never easy to ask for additional tax support to invest in school facilities; but the needs are real and continue to mount. In the competitive environment in which we find ourselves, it is critical that the District remains focused on the future and the improvements that will be required to meet the challenges of the world our students will face.

  • We need to invest in our facilities while interest rates are still very low and contractors are ready and anxious for work.

  • We were able to take advantage of a window when the School Loan Revolving Fund has opened back up, which is resulting in significant savings for the taxpayers. We have no guarantee that it would be open again in the future if we waited.

  1. CONSTRUCTION

How do we know what these building improvements will cost before it has been designed?

  • The Architecture and Engineering Firm used its extensive experience in designing educational facilities to develop square footage estimates based on identified improvements required to meet the District’s needs. The Construction Management Firm used its experience to accurately estimate the cost of the proposed improvements. The Michigan Department of Treasury has reviewed and approved the Proposals based on their compliance with the State’s stringent standards and guidelines that protect taxpayers’ best interests.

Would local workers have an opportunity to assist with the projects should the Bonds pass?

  • Local contractors are encouraged to bid on our projects.

  • Many will be the successful, qualified, low bidder.

  • The District has hired the Architect and Construction Manager to administer this program, follow all applicable regulations, and give as much opportunity to local labor and suppliers as possible. The consultants will hold a special meeting to inform all local contractors desiring to work on the projects of all of the State required bidding rules.

 If the Bond passes on May 3rd, when will construction begin?

  • Additions and remodeling of the existing buildings would occur over the summers of 2017 and 2018. Designing the high school addition and the remodeling work start immediately upon passing the bond.

7. What are the benefits of the proposed high school gym and/or what are the limitations of our current high school gym?

Basketball Court Requirements:

National Federation of State High School Sports Associations/MHSAA basketball tournament hosting guidelines

Dansville’s Current High School Gym measurements/Gym in Concept A measurements

Basketball Court Length:

84 feet

82 feet

Basketball Court Width:

50 feet

49.8 feet

Unobstructed Space Outside of Court:

Sideline and Baseline Recommended Space: 10 feetSideline and Baseline Minimum Requirement for Space: 3 feet

Current Sideline: 2 feet, 8 inches(4 inches below min. req. and 7 ft, 4 inches below recommended space)Current Baseline: 4.5 feet(meets min. req.; 5.5 feet below recommended space)

Scheduling – We are past maximum facility use for school teams, DCAA and other community groups.  We typically have groups in our facilities 7 days per week until 9:00 PM and turn more away, as 9 PM is when we close the facility for cleaning and safety reasons. We receive requests to rent the facility until 10:30 PM most nights as well.  We do not currently have the gym space to accommodate all interested community users.

Competitive Disadvantage – A court that is not regulation size puts our athletes at a competitive disadvantage because they are not practicing on the same size court they play on elsewhere or in the state tournaments.

Safety – Without the 10 feet of recommended space (and under 3 feet of minimum space), there is an increased risk of collision for athletes with walls, spectators and bleachers. During basketball games, there is limited space for spectators to get to and from seats. This is a particular concern for spectators with special needs.

Revenue Impact– Due to the current HS court not meeting the NFHS regulations, we are unable to host MHSAA basketball tournament games such as districts or regionals. We are also unable to host volleyball tournament events due to not meeting the height requirement for MHSAA volleyball tournaments.  We are also not able to host MHSAA Individual Wrestling tournaments.

These types of events give our athletes home court advantage, bring in additional revenue for the school, and have a positive impact on local businesses.  Basketball or volleyball districts and regionals, for example, would bring in revenue for an additional 4 -6 games.  Wrestling districts would bring in 16 schools.  As a reference point, one football playoff game brought in approximately $1500 of additional revenue in the fall of 2014, which doesn’t include the additional revenue Boosters brought in from concessions.

8. Why is the school considering a new building when enrollment is declining? 

The reason for a new building is because we have a middle school building that is reaching the end of its useful life.  For the students that are enrolled, we do not have room to put them in the other two buildings, so we are seeking support to build a safe new building for our students.

9. What is the enrollment history over the past several years?

Dansville Schools
Pupil Count History
1999-00     842.74
2000-01     853.36
2001-02     881.60
2002-03     888.92
2003-04     897.37
2004-05     921.33
2005-06     934.55
2006-07     948.04
2007-08     923.82
2008-09     912.67
2009-10     904.36
2010-11     906.02
2011-12     901.26
2012-13     867.06
2013-14     832.18
2014-15     795.23

10.  Is the school is setting this bond vote up for a balanced calendar to be implemented?

No.  The district has put its exploration of a balanced calendar on hold in light of the Bergmann Report, which has focused all efforts on what will be done with the facilities.  While the balanced calendar will most likely be re-examined in the future, it is not tied in any way to this facilities work.

11.  What kind of school do you want – one to attract more school of choice students, or one to get more people to build in Dansville?

We are hoping to build a new building for one primary reason – our MS building is reaching the end of its useful life. We are not seeking a building to attract more students, but rather to provide a safe structure for our current students.

12. What types of maintenance planning occurs in the district?

The district employs two staff members for maintenance who do a great job tracking the needs of the buildings and providing critical input to a prioritized and financially-constrained multi-year maintenance plan that Superintendent Amy Hodgson has shared with the board/board facilities subcommittee.  The subcommittee is chaired by Chris Schmidt who is Director of Construction and Facilities Maintenance in his day job.

After establishing the multi-year asset management plan, major projects were prioritized based on safety and impact on students/instruction.  In the way of major projects, the elementary roof was the top priority, followed by systematic replacement of carpet that had been negatively impacted by roof leaks.  To help protect our current assets, the district underwent a large drainage improvement project next which has positively impacted much of the district’s property, including the FFA building, the woods and the track.  The district then replaced a large portion of the high school roof and plans to begin replacing carpet that is past its useful life when revenue in the sinking fund permits.

In addition to this, the maintenance staff contract with outside professionals in a number of areas.  Some of those are listed here:

Siemens conducts an inspection of each fire alarm device annually.

  • The boilers are relicensed every 3 years by the state via an inspection by SET SEG.

  • Maintenance cards are posted near the boilers reflecting the work done by Myers Plumbing & Heating, the company that also cleans the boilers every two years and inspects them annually.

  • Myers Plumbing & Heating also performs annual inspections/maintenance of the backflow preventers.

    • Myers has indicated to our maintenance staff that our school is very proactive in maintaining the boilers, especially compared to other schools.  They indicated that this is why our boilers have lasted beyond their useful lives.

HVAC/Boiler Data:

  • MS HVAC unit for office/first floor rooms- 1995-1996: 10-15 y useful life

  • Small units on HS/Elem/Sup’t offices -1995-1996: 10-15 y useful life

  • 2 larger HVAC units over HS addition areas- 1995-96: 10-15 y useful life

  • 4 new Boilers for MS purchased in 1995-1996 with first sinking fund monies: 10-15 y useful life

  • 2 HS boilers were purchased in 2000-2001: 10-15 y useful life

  • 1 rooftop unit over HS math room in 2007-2008: 10-15 y useful life

(Approximate cost of replacement of boilers:  $16,000 per plus installation)

 Boilers are checked/monitored by maintenance staff daily in the winter.

Click here to access the district’s planned maintenance/activities document.

13. Has the district taken proper maintenance measures over the past several years?

After two years of discussions with the community and a recommendation to the board that the middle school building be replaced, the board commissioned a deeper dive into the structure than one would expect district maintenance personnel to take.  The board strongly encourages everyone to read the Bergmann report, but in summary:

  • The report estimates that it will to cost roughly $5 million over the next five years to keep the building in service for another 10-20 years.

  • The first million dollars or so is largely for replacing the roof, reconstructing the bell tower, and repairing the horizontal window supports (these are the Priority 2 items).

  • The next million dollars or so (adding up to a total of $2.5 million for both Priority 2 and Priority 3 items) is for replacing window systems, removing the vines , installing joist hangers, and bringing the library floor up to current code.

  • The next $2.5 million (which gets us to the $5 million total) is the rough estimate for operational things like heating, electrical, technology, etc. that will come due during the time the building’s life is extended by the other investments.  Unless, a commitment is made to extend the building’s life even further (which we believe is cost-prohibitive) these investments would never be fully realized.

The repairs recommend in the report are not due to neglect or planned obsolescence.  They are the repairs that would need to be made eventually and which we would have found through normal monitoring before they caused a problem.  They came to light now, and all at once, because we went beyond normal monitoring and asked an expert to look.

Click here to access the district’s maintenance and facilities improvement projects from 2004-present.

14. What has caused the school board to move the facilities discussion forward at this time?

When the board received the Bergmann report in September of 2014, it was made it clear that before long the cost of extending the middle school structure’s life will exceed the capacity of our sinking fund.  Our operations budget is not sufficient to handle this type of investment either.  Consequently, the board can now foresee the need to ask the voters for funding just to keep the building in operation.

The board members have stated that the money outlined in the report that would be needed to keep the building in operation (outlined in #2 above) would be better spent on a new facility with modern classrooms and lower operating costs.  Being brick on wood instead of brick and metal, the middle school building was not built to last forever.  That said, the new facility can and should fit the community and honor its past—that is why we created the historic preservation committee which is charged to help carry forward the history associated with the current middle school building.

15. What maintenance has been done in the middle school building over the past several years?

Click here to access the district’s maintenance and facilities improvement projects from 2004-present.

16. What is the motivation of the board for addressing the facilities at this time when enrollment has been decreasing?

The sole motivation of the board for addressing the condition of the middle school at this time is its current condition and to address the needs that were outlined in the Bergmann report.  By acting now, the district can direct much of the projected $5 million investment into a new building rather than one that is near the end of its expected useful life. Mr. Chris Schmidt (board facilities committee chairperson) stated during the community meeting that it will take 24-30 months after a passed bond by the community to construct a new facility, which has also impacted the board’s decision to help the community understand the need to come to a decision about the middle school structure.

17.  How old is the current middle school building?

The middle school building is 95 years old. The original Dansville school building, called the Union School, was built in 1870 on the same site as our current middle school.  That original building was torn down and replaced by the current middle school structure which first housed students in the 1921-1922 school year.

18. What is the district’s liability in continuing to occupy the current middle school building?

While the Bergmann report clearly identified areas that need attention in the middle school building to help insure its structural integrity moving forward, it also documented and provided assurance to the board that the building is currently safe for occupancy.

19.  I remember hearing that the middle school building is the cheapest to operate in terms of heating and electrical. Is that true?

The district has always had one meter for electrical and heat is also paid on a district-level.  However, Rick D’Alessandro, the engineer from Bergmann Associates, shared that heat/electrical is naturally more efficient in a multi-storied building.  He shared that this may be a consideration for the new project.  There are, however, several inefficiencies due to the aging windows and overall building structure that will be remedied in building a new structure.

20.  Is it an option not to come to the community with a bond proposal at all?

No.  The district would need a bond proposal to invest at least $5 million in the current middle school building or to seek funding for a new building.  The district’s operational and sinking fund budgets cannot fund this kind of investment.

21.  Could we attract more students with new facilities?

Board Trustee Mr. Chris Schmidt answered this question in the community meeting by stating that while this could happen, however there is no guarantee and this is not the motivating factor that has brought the board to this decision to move forward with a recommendation for a new facility. Rather, it is the current condition of the 95 year old middle school building as outlined in the Bergmann report.

22.  Can preference be given to local contractors if you build a new building?

According to House Bill 5639 from 2008, the board can set a policy to give preference to a Michigan-based business.  The board of education has adopted Policy 6321 in 2010 stating that preference can be given to Michigan-based companies.

23.  Can preference be given to companies owned by veterans?

If a company is 51% or more owned by a qualified disabled veteran, preference can be given during a bidding process.

24.  If time takes its toll, and we aren’t able to move forward with a new building, how do we make sure building is safe?

Rick D’Alessandro shared that the roof, tuck pointing, floor and other issues that were outlined in the report, need to be addressed in the next few years to reduce deterioration.

25.  How long before we need to close the building?

Rick D’Alessandro answered this question by stating that it is impossible to determine exactly when a building will fail, but that we don’t want the building to make the decision.

26.  Who is eligible to vote  in the upcoming school election? Is it true that only Ingham township residents can vote?

All residents who live in the Dansville School district are eligible to vote on May 3rd related to the bond proposal. Our district encompasses residents from several townships including: White Oak Township, Vevay Township, Wheatfield Township, Bunkerhill Township, Leslie Township, Leroy Township, Stockbridge Township and Ingham Township.

27.  Can the soccer field be placed on the new property instead of the softball field? 

Unfortunately, the soccer field will not fit on the new property if it is regulation size and its configuration must be North-South.

28.  Will the millage stay at 7 mills for the entire 30 years? 

The current millage projections indicate that the millage will remain at 7 mills until 2044.  In 2045 it will reduce to 6.66 mills.

29.  What kinds of ideas has the school considered as it relates to honoring the history of the middle school building?

The district formed a Historical Committee from the beginning of the planning process to ensure that our Aggie heritage was given emphasis and attention from the start.  We are working collaboratively with alumni who are particularly interested in the history of not just the middle school, but the entire school district, to ensure that we are very intentionally handling every aspect of this project in a way that honors the legacy of Dansville Schools.  Ideas include restoring and preserving the bell in the bell tower, preserving and showcasing key historical artifacts in the new school, preserving and showcasing all class composite pictures, hosting an event where historical artifacts are brought in and scanned, videotaping alumni speaking about their experiences in the building and so on.

30.  Why isn’t the new school being built on the new property? 

The new property was explored during the large drainage project a few years ago and was deemed suitable to build fields and for parking, but not suitable for a school building.

31.  What is the reason for the baseball field being oriented as it is in the plans? 

The best orientation for baseball and softball fields is to have home plate be in the south end of the field. A line running from home plate through the pitcher’s mount should run either northeast or northwest. Either orientation is correct and safe. The current layout of the fields was configured to put home plate closest to the parking area for access by barrier free spectators. Barrier free access must be provided from the parking area to the bleacher areas for both fields. 

32.  Where will the band students go during construction? 

The band students will be relocated temporarily to the other buildings during construction. 

33.  Will the FFA building be redone in this bond proposal? 

There are actually currently plans to redo the FFA building using sinking funds. 

 34.  What is the approximate cost of the relocation of the outdoor athletic fields? 

The cost of the relocated soccer, baseball, softball fields is approximately $1.7 million.  This includes drainage, dugouts/team shelters, scoreboards, bleachers, concrete, fencing, sound, irrigation and press boxes. All figures are estimates, as the district will post the projects and a bidding process will occur after the election. 

35.  Why is the board of education and school moving forward with a ballot proposal at this time? 

  • The Dansville Schools Board of Education commissioned an independent engineering structural analysis of the middle school building in the spring of 2014 that was conducted by Bergmann Associates, a well-respected engineering consulting firm.

  • This analysis confirmed that the building was built in the early 1920s out of masonry bearing construction with lumber interior framing intended to last around 100 years with significant remodeling or upgrades at approximately 40 year intervals to maintain the facility integrity and/or educational relevance.

  • The analysis found the district did a good job maintaining the physical plant, noting that recommended repairs are coming due to capital assets coming to the end of their useful life.

  • The analysis found the building is experiencing normal deterioration for a building of its age and construction type and will require approximately $5 million in upgrades during the next 5 years, including installing joist hangers, replacing the roof, reconstructing the library floor to bring the load capacity up to current standards, and replacing well-kept, but aging, building mechanical systems. These repairs could maintain the building’s structural safety for another 15-20 years.

  • The district’s sinking fund and operating revenue cannot support a $5 million expenditure, making a property tax supported bond the only way to fund this work.

  • The school board concluded that if it came to requesting a bond for a 95 year-old brick and stick structure, it makes more fiscal sense to direct the investment into a new building that will last much longer than 20 years, be more efficient to operate, and provide a better learning environment for students.

  • The district engaged community stakeholders who developed a plan that they believe will meet the district’s capital building needs for the next 30 years and is considerate of the financial burden to tax payers.

36.  The conservative estimate for the interest for the bond is at 5%.  What happens if the actual rate is lower? How are the savings applied? Does the school keep the money saved?

The savings from achieving a lower bond interest rate will be applied back to the taxpayers.  This typically means that the life cycle of the bond would shorten and the debt would be paid off earlier. 

37.  Is there a cost for the school with the architect and construction manager associated with the bond prior to the election?

The district does not pay either the architect or the construction manager until the bond passes.  After the bond passes, there is a cost associated with their work throughout the project. This is one of the reasons why the Board chose an independent architect to do the middle school building evaluation.  They wanted the evaluation to be completely separate from a bond project. 

38.  How can the district ensure the voters that they are getting the best price for the project?

With any publicly funded capital improvement project (school district, local, county, or state government, road commission, etc.) there are laws requiring the project be competitively bid by qualified contractors. This project bidding will include several different bid packages (e.g. masonry, roofing, electrical, earthwork… and many more). Low bidders for each bid category are interviewed and vetted by the District’s construction manager to make sure the bidder has all items covered within their pricing.  In most cases, the low bidder is awarded the project, which ensures that the district is getting the best price for the work.

39.  Will the project be competitively bid by several contractors to ensure they are providing the lowest possible price?

Yes, competitive bidding with prevailing wage requirements are mandated by law for the use of public funding. This project bidding will likely include pricing from 75 – 80 contractors. Each contractor will be bidding on a portion of the project for which they are a qualified contractor. The bidding process is managed by the construction manager (CM). This is much different than working with a “General Contractor”(GC) in that a GC will hold all of the subcontractors under his/her umbrella. Any cost savings using a GC go to the contractor. Any cost savings using a CM go to the Owner.

The contractors will be bidding from a detailed set of bid documents without knowing what the “estimated” price tag is for their category. They will be competing against several other contractors in their category for the work, thus the phrase “competitive bidding”.

40. How was the budget developed for the proposed project (without actual contractor bids)

Based on input from the district and a large and diverse citizens’ committee, the architect worked to put together conceptual plans for the project. The construction manager has extensive experience in “estimating” the cost of the conceptual design based on current bids being received for other projects of this type. Using current pricing trends and historical knowledge of the construction type, the construction manager put together conceptual pricing for the project.

41.  Why wasn’t the project designed and bid prior to asking for the bond amount?

There are going to be more than 200 days delegated to the design phase of this project. The district does not have the resources to pay for this type of extensive work within the general fund. In addition,  both the architect and construction manager are working for the district “at risk” until the passage of the bond.  Districts are not able to propose a bond to pay for only the design and bidding phases of a project. This occurs once the district has secured the funding for the project.

42.  Are the current concepts being shown to the voters going to be identical to the final project?

The current designs being shown are only conceptual in nature. Many hours of detailed design and planning will be put into refining the project once the bond has passed. The concepts are intended to show the general intent of what would happen if the bond passes. Input will be sought from district designated design teams to help refine the design into the final project that will ultimately be bid and constructed.

43.  Can the current designs change if the District’s priorities have changed or if the design team shares new insights for the project?

Yes, often they do. As the architect works with the design committees to gather information for use in refining the design, questions are often uncovered that were not previously discussed but would be critical to be addressed in the final project design.

44.  If we had a bond proposal for less than the additional 5.4 mills being sought, would our school still qualify to participate in the School Loan Revolving Fund?

No. If the total number of mills is less than 7.0, a bond project does not qualify for the School Loan Revolving Fund.  Waiting until November 1, 2015 to see if the cap on the fund would be lifted and then subsequently being accepted into this program has allowed the district to reduce the proposal by more than 2.o mills. 

45.  Does the current bond plan that includes using the School Loan Revolving Fund (SLRF) max out the District’s ability to generate funding for future building additions? Is there a cap on what can be asked from the taxpayers? Would Dansville be able to seek additional funding if necessary in the future because of growth?

The MINIMUM millage required to participate in the School Loan Revolving Fund is 7 mills.  The MAXIMUM millage allowed under this program is 13 mills. It is unlikely (however possible) that Dansville would need to seek additional millage through this program, bu the opportunity is available up to the 13 mill cap. Approval of additional mills, if needed, could be considered by the voters should the need arise. 

46.  Why would Dansville seek the same number of mills as a larger school like Okemos?

Okemos Public Schools collects $1.2 million per mill, while Dansville Schools collects approximately $160,000 per mill.  For that reason, it takes more millage for Dansville Schools to raise much less money overall.  Although the overall millage for a similar project would be far less in Okemos, both schools have to pay the same rates to contractors for construction. 

47.  Why has this bond proposal been described as being the best possible deal for taxpayers?

The reason for this is that the school district intentionally waited to bring this proposal before the voters in order to allow taxpayers to benefit from the School Loan Revolving Fund. The minimum amount that a district can levy to be part of this program is 7.0 mills. Adding the new millage to the existing millage of 1.6 mills brought Dansville Schools to this minimum qualifying amount. If the district brought forth a proposal that fell under 7.0 mills by cutting essential components of the proposal, the taxpayers would have to pay more total millage for less in the proposal. 

 

 

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