2013 S.M.A.R.T. School Bond
- Technology and Transportation
November 5, 2013 S.M.A.R.T. School Bond
The Dearborn Board of Education will be asking voters to approve a $76 million bond proposal on the November 5, 2013 ballot. The district will be working with each school to hold informational meetings for parents and community members when school resumes in the fall.
For additional information or if you have questions during the summer recess, please visit the district website, www.dearbornschools.org, or contact the Communications Office at (313) 827-3006.
The Development of the S.M.A.R.T. School Bond
During the month of April, meetings were held at each school to solicit input from parents and staff members regarding items that might be included in a bond proposal. Following the meetings, the information gathered was reviewed by a team from the school and architects in order to develop a plan to address the needs of each building.
A final proposal has been reviewed by the Board of Education and is in the process of being approved by the State of Michigan.
An important aspect of the voter approved bond is there would not be an increase in the mill. rate taxpayers are currently paying to retire existing bond debt. This is due to existing debt being paid off and thus the new bond proposal would replace what is being paid off.
Factors that led to the district putting together a bond proposal include the following:
• Parents have asked the district to consider adding a system of remotely unlocking doors and video cameras at entrances of all schools in order to enhance security.
• Over the last 5 years the Dearborn Public Schools has had an 8.1% decrease in the per-student funding amount provided by the state of Michigan resulting in fewer dollars available for general maintenance of the district’s 35 buildings, technology, and busses.
• During the same 5 year time period the amount of general fund dollars the district has been able to commit to the upkeep of facilities has decreased from just over $5 million dollars per budget year to just around $1 million per budget year. The district has 35 buildings with an average age of 58 years. Twenty- three buildings are between 50 and 90 years old with 11 of those buildings being over 80 years old. This aging inventory of buildings has led to increased cost in order to continue to provide students with a safe, healthy, and energy efficient learning environment.
• The district has experienced annual enrollment growth over the past 25 years gaining more than 6,800 students across the district. Although the growth has been good for the district, the additional numbers have had an impact on building capacities and stretched school resources.
• The State of Michigan is moving to a testing model that requires all students to have access to on-line testing. The state has not provided any funding to cover the cost associated with this massive increase in the daily use of technology in the classroom.
• The district has not purchased a new bus for its fleet of nearly 100 busses in 4 years and the average age of a district bus is 9 years old. The aging fleet results in more resources dedicated to maintaining a safe and “road ready” fleet of busses.
• The district has not asked the voters for funds for capital improvements since the 2002 bond. That proposal saw all projects completed on time and on budget. The district has shown good stewardship of tax dollars by refinancing bonds at lower interest rates saving tax payers millions of dollars.