The Mason Public Schools 2017 bond proposal was developed to build STRONGER, SMARTER, SAFER schools.
On November 7, 2017, Mason residents will be asked to consider a bond proposal to support Mason Public Schools. If approved, the $69.7 million bond proposal will build stronger, smarter, safer schools and includes significant improvements to safety and security, technology, site circulation, HVAC and mechanical and facility upgrades at all of the district’s buildings as well as the purchase of new buses. All of the information provided from the district and on this page is factual and has been shared with reviewed by legal counsel and complies with state requirements as outlined in Public Act 269.
Facilities Improvement Projects
Tending to these basic, but critical needs will extend the life of our school buildings, enhance energy efficiency, improve air quality and enable our schools to serve our community well into the future. Deferring investment in our schools will cost the district more money in the long-run because there are immediate needs for improvements and the current facilities are negatively affecting the educational environment.
All schools will receive infrastructure upgrades including improvements to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Educational spaces will be expanded and improved to provide learning spaces that support a variety of instructional purposes. The proposed additional square footage will be utilized to expand and improve programing and instructional delivery and provide staff with appropriately sized classrooms and learning environments.
Elementary schools will receive upgrades and renovations to provide modern, relevant learning environments that will enhance the delivery of instruction. All elementary schools will have multi-purpose room additions to allow for improvements in programing by providing both cafeteria and multi-purpose room space for student use. In addition, the multi-purpose rooms will provide learning space outside of the classroom for physical education, indoor recess, large-group instruction, multi-class use and community use.
Cafeterias will be improved to provide appropriate space for healthy food choices and improved eating habits.
Alaiedon Elementary School will receive a secure entry, new windows, HVAC improvements, new doors and hardware, updated interior finishes and new lockers.
- The remodeling, consolidation and reconfiguration of outdated and undersized 1st and 2nd grade classrooms will provide appropriate, modern learning spaces for early elementary-aged students. Classrooms currently housed in makeshift spaces will be relocated to appropriately sized classrooms.
- The remodeling of the outdated cafeteria/gym and the addition of a multi-purpose room will provide additional space for physical education and large-group instruction.
- Site upgrades will include improved traffic site circulation for parent pick-up and drop-off and increased parking.
North Aurelius Elementary School will receive a secure entry, new windows, HVAC improvements, new doors and hardware, updated interior finishes and new lockers.
- The remodeling, consolidation and reconfiguring of outdated and undersized 1st and 2nd grade classrooms will provide appropriate, modern learning spaces for early elementary-aged students. Classrooms currently housed in makeshift spaces will be relocated to appropriately sized classrooms.
- Two additional on-site classrooms will be added to eliminate two portable classrooms located behind the school.
- The remodeling of the outdated cafeteria/gym and the addition of a multi-purpose room will provide additional space for physical education and large-group instruction.
- Site upgrades will include improved traffic circulation for parent pick-up and drop-off, expanded parking and a new septic system.
Steele Elementary School will receive a new addition, which will include a secure entry and modern classrooms designed to meet the needs of today’s early and upper elementary-aged students.
- This new addition will replace outdated and undersized portions of the building, the majority of which were constructed in 1955, including kindergarten, music and Spanish classrooms currently located in the basement of the original building.
- The new addition will include a multi-purpose room to provide additional space for physical education and large-group instruction.
- The 1997 addition will receive minor upgrades.
- Site upgrades include improved traffic circulation for parent and bus pick-up and drop-off, parking and playground improvements.
James C. Harvey Education Center/Cedar Street Elementary School will receive a new addition, which will include a secure entry and modern classrooms designed to meet the needs of today’s kindergarten students.
- This new addition will provide classroom spaces that are designed specifically for the needs of early elementary aged students.
- The new addition will include a multi-purpose room to provide additional space for physical education and large-group instruction, and serve as the cafeteria during lunch times.
- A small portion of the Harvey Education Center, built in 1997, will be renovated and incorporated into this new addition.
- Site upgrades will include improved traffic circulation for parent and bus pick-up and drop-off, parking and playground improvements.
Mason Middle School will receive a secure entry, mechanical and electrical upgrades, plumbing and bathroom upgrades, ceiling replacement, fire alarm and extensive furniture and equipment replacement.
Mason High School will receive a secure entry, mechanical and electrical upgrades, plumbing and bathroom upgrades, ceiling replacement, fire alarm, and extensive furniture and equipment replacement.
- Building-wide wireless and upgraded data network
- New infrastructure cabling and file servers
- Classroom multimedia upgrades
- Teacher and student devices
- Band, weight room and exercise equipment
Safety & Security
Safety is a basic and fundamental need. It is an important part of learning, teaching and healthy development. Because we highly value the safety and security of our students and staff, this bond will provide enhancements throughout the district, including:
- Secure building entry at all schools throughout the district, ensuring a secure lobby for our visitors while limiting access to our students and classrooms.
- Reorganize all elementary sites to improve safety, parking and pedestrian and traffic circulation challenges. Elementary sites will accommodate substantial parent/car/bus traffic and pedestrians with minimal conflict.
- Upgrade and increase video surveillance systems at all buildings.
- Replace our aging school bus fleet.
- Improve playgrounds as needed to meet current safety guidelines.
- Create fire-loop access around buildings where currently lacking.
Technology is a significant tool to enhance learning. Technological improvements will be spread over seven years, providing our students and staff with a variety of flexible tools in order to meet the needs of all learners. Technology plays a critical role in supporting an exemplary learning environment.
This bond will allow Mason Public Schools to:
- Update the district’s infrastructure to meet the demands of increased student and staff devices
- Allow the district to efficiently meet all state and federal testing mandates.
- Expand the district's wireless capacity.
- Update classroom instructional technology to support multiple forms of media.
- Update and increase access to computers and devices in all school buildings.
Q1: The bond proposal indicates a need to build a strong technology infrastructure. What does that include?
The technology infrastructure in the bond proposal includes:
- District wide wireless and upgraded data network. All student and teacher devices will need to have full-access to the district's wireless network. Currently there is limited access to Wi-Fi across the district. Students and teachers having their own devices to connect to the wireless network will extend technology-based learning beyond the computer labs. Each student can now become their own research and productivity center. The upgraded network will allow the system to handle an increased load as the district adds devices and as software applications increasingly need more bandwidth. Not only will the upgraded network make things operate more efficiently when moving data across the district, it will maximize the use of technology devices, such as laptops, desktops, Chromebooks, copiers, and printers. Without a new wired and wireless network, these technology devices will not be able to reach their full potential for students and staff.
- New infrastructure cabling and file servers. It has been 20 years since most of the district's infrastructure was installed. To keep up with the requirements of new technology, the cabling\electrical backbone needs to be significantly upgraded. Due to the increased demands of software and web applications that staff and students use, newer servers are required.
- Classroom multimedia upgrades. Students can't learn what they can't see or hear. Enhanced sound systems in the classrooms will allow students increased access to hear what is being taught. New display systems will bring the back of the room to the front of the room so that students can see what is being presented. Connecting student devices to the display systems will also encourage students to take charge of their own learning by showing others what they have learned. This makes the multimedia enhancements a powerful tool for learning.
Q2: Mason Public Schools received a $500,000 grant from the Dart Foundation and an additional grant from the Mason Public Schools Foundation of $90,000 for use over the next three years. What will these grants cover?
The grants are paid out in equal amounts over the next three years ($196,666 per year) and they cover the purchase of Chromebooks for K-12 students and Chromebook storage carts. This allows Mason Public Schools to purchase approximately 2,500 Chromebooks and 102 storage carts over the next three years.
Q3: With the Dart Foundation and Mason Public School Foundation grants, do we really need to include technology in our bond proposal?
Yes. As mentioned previously, technology infrastructure and technology devices go hand-in-hand and one is less useful without the other. These grants are extremely important in meeting our K-12 students’ current device needs, but they don’t put Chromebooks in every classroom and they don’t provide funds for extended warranties or accidental damage insurance for the Chromebooks. The lifespan of a Chromebook is approximately 4 to 5 years so bond funds allow the district to develop a reasonable replacement cycle to ensure our students have access to technology devices well into the future.
In addition to student needs, Mason Public School teachers and support staff also need updated technology devices. The current replacement cycle for staff technology devices is incredibly long, averaging about 10-12 years. To teach our children in a modern learning environment, and for the day-to-day operation of the district, updated equipment is needed including multimedia equipment.
Modernizing our classroom multimedia tools will have a significant impact on the learning environment. Students will be able to visually see demonstrations better, have greater access to the multimedia and eBooks embedded within the district’s new reading and math programs, and hear more of what is being taught in the classroom through new sound systems and multimedia displays. These new technology tools will support both teaching and learning.
With a technology infrastructure that is 20 years old, the bond proposal includes needed infrastructure improvements to support more modern technology devices. The infrastructure components are outlined above and include: 1) District wide wireless and upgraded data network, 2) New infrastructure cabling and file servers and, 3) Classroom multimedia upgrades.
The bond package and both of the Foundations’ investments go hand-in-hand. Both Dart and the Mason Public Schools Foundation have stepped up with an unprecedented gift for the students of Mason. The technology infrastructure needs, and technology device needs that the bond will meet, are required to maximize and sustain the benefit of these gifts.
Similar to building a house, you need the right mechanical infrastructure to build your house. The wiring, plumbing, and furnace are part of the mechanical infrastructure. The lights, faucets and temperature controls are the devices that are connected to this mechanical infrastructure. Technology infrastructure needs the right cabling, network switches and wireless connections to support all the student and staff devices in the district. In addition, technology is changing so rapidly, that Mason’s 20-year-old technology infrastructure is beyond its lifespan and needs improvements to meet today’s needs.
The Dart Foundation Grant is for $500,000 over 3 years or $166,666 per year. The Mason Public School Foundation grant is $90,000 over the next three years or $30,000 per year. The total comes to $196,666 per year for three years for a grand total of $590,000 for K-12 student Chromebooks and Chromebook storage carts.
The Dart and Mason Public Schools Foundation grants will pay for approximately 833 Chromebooks and 34 Chromebook carts each year for the next three years totaling approximately 2,500 Chromebooks and 102 carts.
These grants do not put Chromebooks and a cart in all classrooms over the next three years and they don’t provide funds for extended warranties or accidental damage insurance for the Chromebooks. Technology is constantly changing, with the estimated lifespan of a Chromebook being 4 to 5 years. While students don’t always need the newest, flashiest technology tools, they do need basic technology devices that function properly as technology rapidly changes.
Process - School Study Committee
After the defeat of the May 2016 Bond proposal, the Mason Public School Board of Education directed the superintendent to form a committee to evaluate the defeat of the proposal and re-examine the needs of the district in the areas of facilities, safety and security, technology and transportation. An “all call” was made to the community to gather volunteers to serve on a new committee. Thirty community members volunteered and were asked to assist the district in this important endeavor. The first committee meeting was held on August 9, 2016. Chris Waltz (Chair), Sally Trout (Vice Chair) and Shelly Fanson (Secretary) were elected to their respective positions on August 17, 2016. The committee was officially named the School Study Committee (SSC) on August 24, 2016. The SSC last met on May 25, 2017.
The School Study Committee met 17 times and spent 1,170 hours of work evaluating the needs of the district.
All School Study Committee meetings were open to the public and agenda, minutes, and meeting materials are available on the School Study Committee webpage.
Committee members in alphabetical order: Ted Berryhill, Brian Bushey, Erik Cargill, Jessica Curtis, Lance Delbridge, Susie Disselkoen, Jon Droscha, Steve Duane, Liz Evans, Shelly Fanson, Josh Galloway, Matt Hall, Amy McVaugh, Patrick Meyers, Kerry Minshall, Christopher Mumby, Mitch Perrault, Mike Prelesnik, Jerry Schaffer, Sandy Smalley, Joe Strach, Mike Thompson, Sally Trout, Chris Waltz, Russ Whipple, Tim Williams, and Chris Wright.
Facilities Audit and Staff Survey
The SSC reviewed the results of the facility audit and staff survey conducted for the district prior to the previous bond proposal. The facilities audit and staff survey revealed the need to upgrade many of the learning environments across the district, especially at the elementary schools.
Many of our early elementary classrooms are well below today’s standards for square footage to deliver quality instruction and in need of remodeling and reconfiguration to provide appropriate, modern learning environments. Classrooms currently housed in makeshift spaces, in the basement at Steele, and in portables should be relocated to appropriately sized and modern classrooms.
Many problems exist with the infrastructure, including the antiquated HVAC systems, aging building structures, traffic circulation, parking issues, as well as safety concerns at each building entryway. Another area of concern was the lack of technology resources that are available for our teachers and students.
Moving Forward - New Proposal
After the defeat of the bond proposal in May of 2016, the School Study Committee was formed to investigate potential options and solutions. This committee evaluated at least 12 different options to address the concerns of the district. Some of the following represent those options researched, discussed, and talked about over several months.
- Additions and renovations to existing elementary schools to house 500+ students with no district-wide grade reconfigurations
- Moving 5th grade students to the middle school
- Building a new K-5 elementary
- Building a new 4-5 intermediate building at a new site
- Move kindergarten to a renovated and expanded Harvey Education Center
EPIC-MRA Community Survey
The School Study Committee voted unanimously (21-0) to engage EPIC-MRA to conduct a community survey related to the configuration options the committee has agreed upon to date. Bernie Porn, President of EPIC-MRA, met with the full committee and gathered questions for a potential survey. A SSC sub-committee consisting of five SSC members was formed to help draft the survey. The sub-committee held one drafting meeting and an optional SSC meeting to provide feedback on the first draft of the survey. The sub-committee met twice after the optional meeting to revise and edit the survey. The sub-committee voted unanimously (5-0) to proceed with the survey as written.
School Study Committee Recommendation
On May 25, 2017, the School Study Committee (SSC) passed a motion to recommend to the Mason Public School’s Board of Education that a proposed scope of work in the amount of $67.2 million be placed on the November 2017 ballot. Members of the SSC, led by Chris Waltz, chair, attended the Board of Education meeting on June 12, 2017, to update the Board on the work of the committee and the final recommendation. The proposed scope of work includes significant improvements to safety and security, technology, site circulation, HVAC, mechanical and facility upgrades at all of the district’s buildings. In addition, the proposal includes $1.95 million to purchase new buses.
*Note: Approved Scope of Work does not contain $1.95 million for buses and additional furniture and equipment added by the Board of Education on June 12, 2017.
Frequently Asked Questions
A "Bond Issue" is how a public school district borrows money for capital expenditures by selling bonds. Proceeds can be spent on new construction, additions, remodeling, site improvements, athletic facilities, playgrounds, buses, furnishings, property, equipment and technology. A "Building & Site Sinking Fund" is an annual millage (for ten years), allowing districts to provide funding on a pay as you go basis. Proceeds can be spent similarly as described for "Bond Issue", however may not be used for maintenance, buses, furnishings, equipment, and may only be used for certain aspects of technology, such as wiring, and infrastructure. Neither of these two forms of funding can be used for salaries of any school district employees.
In 2015, the legislature expanded the permissible uses of a sinking fund to include instructional technology purchases similar to those purchased with bond proceeds and school security improvement purchases. However, these expenditures are not allowed for Mason Public Schools' sinking fund that was approved prior to this law taking effect.
Many of our elementary classrooms are physically too small and are below today’s standards to provide a stronger, smarter, safer educational environment. In particular, the square footage in many of our early elementary classrooms is between 800-900 SF and today’s recommended size for an early elementary school classroom is 950 -1100 SF, with additional areas for collaboration. The proposed additional square footage will be utilized to expand and improve programing and instructional delivery and provide staff with appropriately sized classrooms and learning environments. Classrooms currently housed in makeshift spaces will be relocated to appropriately sized classrooms including kindergarten, music and Spanish classrooms currently located in the basement of Steele Elementary and classrooms housed in portables behind North Aurelius Elementary.
All elementary schools will have multi-purpose room additions to allow for improvements in programing by providing both cafeteria and multi-purpose room space for student use. In addition, the multi-purpose rooms will provide learning space outside of the classroom for physical education, indoor recess, large-group instruction, multi-class use and community use.
All elementary schools are in need of secure entryways, improved parent drop off/pick-up and bus loops and additional daily and event parking spaces.
Cameras and buzz-in systems are good first steps in safety and security; however, they are a temporary solution that does not satisfy the long term needs of safety and security within our facilities. Several of our buildings have offices that are too far away from the main entrance to the building. Today’s complex educational environments require that building administration offices be located at the front door, so that office staff is immediately aware of any visitors approaching or entering the building. Most of our educational facilities were designed in a different era, when it wasn’t necessary for the office to have outside visibility. Additional safety and security items to be addressed are parent drop-off/pick-up areas, bus loops, parking issues and increased surveillance equipment.
In todays’ fast paced society, technology is vitally important to educate our students. We need to prepare our students, upon graduation, for higher education or the workforce. Since technology is always changing, our students must learn how to use this technology to keep pace with the world. Having the right infrastructure allows students to utilize the devices they need to be competitive in a global society. Many of our computer labs have outdated computers and operational systems and lack the necessary infrastructure to best use today’s technology. Improvements to classroom instructional technology to support multiple forms of media will allow teachers to maximize instruction and student engagement.
No. In Bulletin 1014 published by the Michigan Department of Education, Mason Public Schools has maintained a low ranking for total business and administrative costs per student compared to other Michigan districts for the years ending June 30, 2014, 2015 and 2016. For the last two fiscal years, Mason Public Schools has been ranked in the lowest 10% of all school districts in the state, for the lowest business and administrative cost per student.
For year ending 2014, Mason Public Schools ranked 702 out of 829 total schools, which put them in the lowest 15% of schools for total business and administrative expenditures; for year ending 2015, Mason Public Schools ranked 776 out of 840 total schools putting them in the lowest 10% of schools; and for year ending 2016, Mason Public Schools was ranked 774 out of 839 total schools maintaining a position in the lowest 10% of total schools.
Business and administrative expenditures excluding capital outlay, include Board of Education, superintendent, office of the principal (school administration), fiscal services, other business services, communication services, human resources, technology services and building and site improvement services.
The average age of District owned buses is over 9 years old. Bus purchases have been deferred for many years. To address the immediate need for replacements the District began leasing some buses in 2015. Currently the District is spending $125,000 out of the general fund to lease 10 buses with 6 more needed in the near future. Postponing bus purchases for one more year will bring the annual lease payment close to $200,000. If the Bond proposal passes and new buses are purchased, that money could be used for instruction.
7. What will happen to the Pre-Kindergarten Program in Mason with the proposed move of kindergarten to the Harvey Education Center?
Presently the Harvey Education Center (HEC) houses the Pre-K program. This program is a revenue generating program and provides a much needed service for many young families living in Mason. The plan is to keep the early learning programs as is at the Harvey Education Center.
8. How will busing of students in the district be affected by moving kindergarten to the Harvey Education Center?
Currently the district provides transportation to the Harvey Education Center before school and after school to service our before/after school program for K-5 students. As a result, we do not anticipate additional costs associated with the change.
Official enrollment projections provided by Stanfred Consultants were discussed by the previous bond committee and posted on the district website prior to the May 3, 2016, Bond proposal. The most recent School Study Committee reviewed district enrollment and enrollment projections on August 24, 2016.
According to the enrollment projections provided by Stanfred Consultants dated December 7, 2015 and April 30, 2017, the “most likely” projection predicts a 1% annual growth to the K-12 student population annually from the 2016-17 school year to the 2020-21 school year. Enrollment projections can only be prepared for 5 years based on recent records of live births in the Ingham County. In addition, the district experienced a 5% growth in Resident K-12 Student Count from 2010 to 2015. (mischooldata.org)
The current proposal is focused on improving our facilities by providing stronger, smarter and safer schools for the students who attend Mason Public Schools. Enrollment projections are just that, projections. No one has a crystal ball but the data suggests that Mason Public Schools’ enrollment will remain at its current level for the foreseeable future.
10. It is recommended that kindergarten and first grade classrooms have 1,250 square feet of learning space as well as a self-contained toilet room. Why is that important?
The guideline typically used for recommended square footage for kindergarten and first grade classrooms is 1,250 square feet. Today's kindergarten and 1st grade curriculum is designed around center based instruction, which requires adequate space for frequent movement between specialized learning stations. This method of instruction is very different from traditional lecture based learning, where students spend the majority of their day in the same seat.
The 1,250 sqft guideline aligns with research that supports the 50 sf/student metric for “early childhood” learning spaces. In an article titled, “The Great 35 Square Foot Myth,” by White and Stoecklin, 2003, it is reported that, “there is a large body of research that shows that the amount of classroom space per child is the single most important environmental factor affecting the quality of child care programs and the welfare of children and staff. The well-being, constructive behavior and social integration of preschool children in group settings are highly dependent on the size of the classroom.”
Self-contained toilet rooms allow for the least-disruptive and safest procedure for allowing early learners to use the restroom. Sending 5 and 6 year olds down the hallway by themselves to use a community restroom is not safe for that age group.
At North Aurelius Elementary, only one of the eight rooms we use for kindergarten and first grade meets the recommended square footage requirement. Seven of the eight classrooms are under 880 sq/ft and one room is only 800 sq/ft. Two of the eight rooms do not have self-contained toilet rooms.
At Alaiedon Elementary, none of the six rooms that are used for kindergarten and first grade meets the recommended square footage requirement. Five of the six classrooms have only 800 sq/ft of learning space. Three of the six rooms do not have self-contained toilet rooms.
At Steele Elementary, two kindergarten rooms in the 1997 addition have 1,060 sqft and 1,090 sqft of learning space and the kindergarten room in the basement has 1,200 sqft of space. The three first grade rooms in the oldest part of the building have 825 sqft each of learning space. All six rooms at Steele have self-contained toilet rooms.
11. I see that the district has engaged an “owner’s representative” for the project. What is an owner representative and why is that necessary?
Construction Management is the process of organizing and directing the work force, materials and equipment to accomplish the purpose of the designer. An “owner’s representative” is a third party hired by the owner in the absence of any or little experience and/or knowledge of the building construction process by the owner.
Owner Representatives have experience and/or knowledge in planning, design, construction, construction management, project management, real estate and the overall development process with the ability to anticipate and solve problems in a timely manner. The following is a partial list of common tasks and activities appointed to Owner Representative by the Owner:
- Liaison between the project participants and the owner (sometimes the owner’s management staff or team);
- Advises and assists the owner in the need for a project team, who should be on the team, team selection, qualifying the team, and hiring the team;
- Advises and assists the owner in the need for a project schedule and budget including the respective tasks and activities;
- Attends and participates in municipal planning, design and review meetings on behalf of the owner;
- Monitors the design and development process pursuant to the owner’s best interests, desires, and expectations;
- Oversees the overall design process to insure that the contract documents are prepared and completed on a timely basis and the final design complies with the owner’s expectations; and
- When given the authority executes documents and contracts on behalf of the owner
- Ensures compliance with the contract/construction documents by recognizing, resolving and responding to issues and problems for the purpose of avoiding conflicts and delays;
- Manages and responds to costs and payment requests from project resources such as the Construction Manager, Architect, Engineer, Contractor(s), and owner’s vendors; and
- Ensures that the contract documents are being executed correctly.
- Assists the owner in occupying the project;
- Monitors the project for defects and/or deficiencies as reported by the occupants of the project and prepares and transmits such information to the contractor and/or responsible parties; and
- Organizes and attends the one year inspection if mandated by the contract documents and/or statutory requirements.
12. Why should I get informed about the proposal if I have no children or grandchildren in Mason Public Schools?
Stronger, smarter, and safer schools are key to maintaining and protecting our quality of life in Mason. Mason Public Schools is part of our community’s success story and investing now prevents us from deferring necessary improvements which will cost the district more in the long run.
In addition, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, home values increase $20 for every $1 spent on public schools in the community. Investing in our schools benefits all.
Strong schools are a factor in attracting families and businesses to Mason and protecting our quality of life. Strengthening our schools improves our future workforce and retains and attracts talent to Mason. Deferring investment will only increase the costs in the long run.
It is typical for school districts to present information in general terms prior to a Bond proposal. Detailed plans and drawings require extensive engineering and cost analysis and would necessitate the payment to professionals for the service. It is not wise to spend significant money on this prior to a vote on the proposal.
The project is broken down into three phases (or series) to maximize tax dollars and minimize interest costs to taxpayers. The timing of the bond issuance is tailored to the timing of the proposed improvement projects with the goal of reducing the amount of interest expense as much as possible. If the school district immediately issued $69.7 million of bonds the proposed debt service millage rate would need to be much higher than the rate proposed. By not immediately issuing $69.7 million of new bonds the school district is able to reduce interest expense by maintaining a lower annual bond balance over the length of the proposal. The increments between bond issuances (2018, 2021, and 2023) provide time for the repayment of existing bonds before new bonds are added.
The preliminary qualification application filed with treasury requires the district to estimate the principal and interest costs for the projects.The interest rates used on the bonds range from 2.75% to 4.75%.Actual interest rates will not be determined until the bonds are sold, which is anticipated in the Spring of 2018.
17. Have there been bids for the various portions of work in the plans? How do we know we are getting the best price?
If the proposal passes, the district will prepare construction documents and specifications for the desired scope of work. Once the work is defined, the district will assemble bid packages and it is required by law, sections 623a, 1267, and 1274 of the Revised School Code, to publically advertise and solicit competitive bids for all work. This process ensures that the district can select the lowest qualified bids. All qualified contractors will have the opportunity to attend a pre-bid meeting to obtain additional information and project clarification.All qualified contractors will have the opportunity to participate in the competitive bid process.
If the proposal passes, the district will review all options of financing to reduce interest costs to taxpayers. This will include the staging of construction to maximize value. Interest rates will not be determined until the district decides and acts on a funding plan.
19. How many schools of choice (SOC) students and non-resident students attend school in Mason? How many Mason students attend elsewhere?
Mason Public Schools (MPS) has more resident students attending school elsewhere than non-resident students enrolled in Mason. MPS has one of the lowest percentages of non-resident students in attendance in the county.
Mason Public Schools Student Enrollment
|School Year||Non-Resident Students Enrolled||Resident Students Enrolled Elsewhere||Student Enrollment|
If the bond proposal is approved, all schools will receive infrastructure upgrades including improvements to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that will enhance energy efficiency and improve air quality. Air conditioning will be added throughout the building at North Aurelius, Alaiedon, and Steele Elementary schools. The middle school, high school and Harvey Education Center will receive significant air conditioning and heating improvements.
21. The bond information provided in the pamphlet and on the website mentions that improvements will address undersized and make-shift learning spaces. What does that mean?
Space issues exist at all three elementary schools. The schools were built in 1955, 1961, and 1964 when learning and the needs of students was much different. Below is a list of examples of such spaces.
- Twelve rooms (101-113) in the oldest part of the building have only 825 sqft of learning space. The recommended square footage for early childhood rooms is 1,250. (White and Stoecklin, 2003)
- There is no separate classroom available for the Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy (OT/PT) program. Occupational Therapy is provided in the small, public space outside of the Cognitively Impaired room #115. Physical Therapy is provided in the library. PT/OT and sensory services require dedicated space. These activities take place in small group or at an individual level and provide developmental gross and fine motor activities to promote the strength and coordination needed to access the curriculum. This space is also used to help any student who needs to engage in motor based activities designed to help modulate their energy level and readiness to continue in the learning process. Dedicated space is needed for the storage of the equipment and an environment safe for the activities to occur.
- Three rooms are fully utilized in the lower level (basement) of the original building. Much of that space was originally used as a locker room/shower room for high school football. It has since been modified to use as an art/Spanish room, music room and kindergarten room. The rooms have little to no natural light, poor casework, and are damp. In addition, these rooms require students to go outside the building to get to lunch, library, physical education, etc. located in other parts of the building. This is a safety issue and causes significant loss of instructional time.
- The art room, located in the lower level (basement) of the original building has only 825 sqft of space and limited storage area for student work and supplies.
- The room used for the special education Learning Disabled (LD) program has only 280 sqft of instructional space. The size of the room does not adequately meet the needs of the 12-16 LD students on the teacher’s case load, classroom aide(s), and adaptive devices as needed. LD instruction requires a high degree of individualization and teachers need adequate room to work individually or in small groups with students.
- The room available for the Cognitively Impaired (CI) program has only 600 sqft of learning space. Currently that room houses 12 students, one teacher and three aides. The size of the room does not adequately meet the space needs of the students, teacher, classroom aides and adaptive devices as needed. Special education instruction requires a high degree of individualization. Larger work space would accommodate the various emotional, physical, and academic requirements of our special needs students.
- Five of six classrooms currently used for kindergarten and first grade have only 800 sqft of learning space. The recommended square footage for early childhood rooms is 1,250. (White and Stoecklin, 2003)
- Three of the six K-1st grade rooms do not have self-contained toilet rooms. A self-contained toilet room allows the student to use the restroom inside the classroom. It is not recommended to send early learners down the hallway to a community bathroom by themselves.
- The room used for the special education Learning Disabled (LD) program has only 600 sqft of instructional space. The size of the room does not adequately meet the needs of the required 12-16 LD students on the teacher’s case load, along with a classroom aide(s), and adaptive devices as needed. LD instruction requires a high degree of individualization and teachers need adequate room to work individually or in small groups with students.
- The room available for the Moderately or Otherwise Cognitively Impaired (MOCI) program has only 750 sqft of learning space. Currently that room houses 10 students, one teacher and three aides. The size of the room does not adequately meet the space needs of the students, teacher, classroom aides and adaptive devices as needed. Special education instruction requires a high degree of individualization. Larger work space would accommodate the various emotional, physical, and academic requirements of our special needs students. The room needs an updated handicap accessible bathroom with a separate changing area and additional shelving areas for display centers for both large and small motor activities.
North Aurelius Elementary
- Seven of eight rooms used for kindergarten and first grade instruction have less than 880 sqft of learning space. Room #120 has only 800 sqft. The recommended square footage for early childhood rooms is 1,250. (White and Stoecklin, 2003)
- A first grade room does not have a self-contained toilet room. A self-contained toilet room allows the student to use the restroom inside the classroom. It is not recommended to send early learners down the hallway to a community bathroom by themselves.
- The room used for the special education Learning Disabled (LD) program has only 458 sqft of instructional space. The size of the room does not adequately meet the needs of the required 12-16 LD students on the teacher’s case load, along with a classroom aide(s), and adaptive devices as needed. LD instruction requires a high degree of individualization and teachers need adequate room to work individually or in small groups with students.
- The art/Spanish room has only 710 sqft of instructional space with limited casework and storage for student work and supplies, and only one sink. Art instruction requires space for students to be creative and work individually or in small groups.
- There are two portables in the back of the building, which are used for second grade and music instruction. This requires students to go outside the building to get to and from lunch, music, art, physical education, etc. located in other parts of the building. This is a safety issue and causes significant loss of instructional time.
- In the library wing, one room that was designed as a small office is now used for English as a Secondary Language (ESL) instruction and another room that was designed as small office is used for small group reading instruction. Both of the converted offices were not designed for instruction and are too small and not adequate to meet the needs of the programs.
- The elementary interventionist uses a room that was designed to serve as a physical education (PE) office to provide small group and individualized instruction for 4-5 students at a time. The PE office is too small and not adequate to meet the needs and the teacher and students.
Comparison of Debt Service/Capital Improvement
2017 Millage Rates of Ingham County School Districts
|Holt Public Schools||10|
|Haslett Public Schools||8.33|
|Williamston Community Schools||7.84|
|Webberville Community Schools||7.45|
|East Lansing Public Schools||7|
|Okemos Public Schools||7|
|Waverly Community Schools||7|
|Leslie Public Schools||5.82|
|Mason Public Schools - Proposed||5.68|
|Lansing School District||4.68|
|Stockbridge Community Schools||3.95|
|Mason Public Schools - Current||2.95|
MPS Historical Debt Service Millage Rates
2016 Total Property Tax Rates in Michigan
Source: Michigan Taxes/Michigan Department of Treasury
|City||School District||w/AdValorem Special Assessment Millage Total|
|Lansing City||33215 Waverly||63.2908|
|East Lansing City||33060 Haslett||62.1246|
|Lansing City||33070 Holt||60.8286|
|Lansing City||33070 Okemos||58.8174|
|East Lansing||33010 East Lansing||58.2703|
|Lansing City||33010 East Lansing||57.3196|
|East Lansing City||33020 Lansing||55.1368|
|Lansing City||33130 Mason||54.7745|
|Leslie City||33100 Leslie||54.7684|
|Williamston City||33230 Williamston||54.7323|
|Lansing City||33020 Lansing||54.1861|
|Mason City||33130 Mason||45.3175|
|Lansing Twp||33215 Waverly||52.5973|
|Meridian Twp||33060 Haslett||49.2902|
|Meridian Twp||33230 Williamston||48.5273|
|Delhi Twp||33070 Holt||48.4189|
|Meridian Twp||33170 Okemos||46.9337|
|Lansing Twp||33010 East Lansing||46.6261|
|Meridian Twp||33010 East Lansing||45.4359|
|Lansing Twp||33020 Lansing||43.4926|
|Delhi Twp||33130 Mason||42.3648|
|Delhi Twp||33020 Lansing||41.7764|
|Alaiedon Twp||33230 Williamston||38.5424|
|Vevay Twp||33040 Dansville||37.0369|
|Alaiedon Twp||33170 Okemos||36.9488|
|Aurelius Twp||33130 Mason||33.3878|
|Vevay Twp||33130 Mason||32.2936|
|Alaiedon Twp||33130 Mason||32.9059|
Proposed Millage Cost to Taxpayers
|Market Value||Taxable Value||Cost/Year||Cost/Month||Cost/Day|
Mason Public Schools Bonding Proposal
Shall Mason Public Schools, Ingham County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Sixty-Nine Million Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars ($69,700,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of:
erecting, furnishing and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, equipping and re-equipping and furnishing and re-furnishing school buildings; acquiring, installing, and equipping or re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; purchasing school buses; and acquiring, preparing, developing, improving and equipping playgrounds and sites?
The following is for informational purposes only:
The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2018, under current law, is 2.86 mills ($2.86 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation). The maximum number of years the bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is thirty (30) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.87 mills ($3.87 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).
The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds. The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $9,780,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $0. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.
(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceed cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)
Download the Bond Information Community Forum Presentation
Download the Financial Fact Sheet
|Series I Funds: 2018 - 2021||$34.2 Million|
|Harvey Education Center||Safety and Security|
|North Aurelius Elementary||Buses|
|Furniture and Equipment|
|Series II Funds: 2021 - 2023||$19.2 Million|
|Steele Elementary||Safety and Security|
|Furniture and Equipment||Technology|
|Series III Funds: 2023 - 2026||$16.3 Million|
|Mason High School||Safety and Security|
|Mason Middle School||Technology|
|Furniture and Equipment||Buses|