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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • How was the project scope of the bond proposal developed?
    Edwardsburg Public Schools is committed to a process for ongoing evaluation and monitoring of all school facilities. Continually evaluating and monitoring school facilities helps to protect the community’s investment in its schools. During the early fall of 2021, working with construction, technology, and architectural specialists, the school district completed an in-depth facility study. The study identified districtwide facility needs and has helped inform the proposed direction of the bond proposal. If interested, the study is available on the district's website at: https://www.edwardsburgpublicschools.org/ Also in the early fall of 2021, conversations with staff, students, community members and the Board of Education identified additional thoughts for advancing the facility offerings as they relate to the educational needs and goals of the district. Many of the items that were shared were beyond the maintenance and upkeep needs identified in the facility study and were focused on projects that help support educational programming needs. As ideas and scenarios were studied for a potential bond proposal, additional input from the broader community was obtained through a professional survey in March of 2022 that tested out potential scope ideas for a bond proposal along with gaining feedback on the financial impact of a prospective bond. When the inital bond amount of $59.6 million was not approved in August 2022, the district conducted community input sessions to understand the needs and desires of voters. The bond amount was reduced to $56 million to lessen the tax impact for the community.
  • What are the main goals of the proposed bond scope?
    Safety and Security – the safety and security of our students and staff is the highest priority. Peace of mind in the classroom allows for a more comfortable learning experience. Projects included in the bond include greater control at our building entries. The redesign of our site drop off and pick up areas will focus on better traffic flow with a focus on creating separation of parents, buses and pedestrians. Exceptional Educational Environments – as educational trends continue to change and evolve, our facilities need to be flexible and relevant to the ways that best support best practices in teaching and learning. State of the art educational environments that are comfortable will help our students to be prepared for careers of the future. Energy Efficiency / Operational Costs-Upgrades to our boilers, building controls and mechanical systems will seek to provide greater energy efficiency that will reduce energy consumption. As we look at replacing significant amounts of our building roofs, additional insulation will be added to comply with current energy codes that will provide a higher performing building exterior. Energy savings allow the district to divert funding from operational costs toward items that will directly affect education.
  • What would the future of the Primary School and Eagle Lake Elementary be if a New K-3rd grade building is constructed?
    With the potential construction of the new K-3rd grade building, the current Primary School would be demolished to provide additional site area available for future uses on our campus. The future of the Eagle Lake property is unknown, but the district will be actively pursuing the potential sale of the property. Any proceeds from a potential sale would be deposited into the general fund to support additional educational endeavors of the district.
  • How would the community be involved in design and facility planning following a successful election?
    Upon a successful election, many stakeholders including staff, students and parents will be engaged to further define and develop the designs of the proposed projects. We also plan to host a community forum and receive input from the community to help shape the potential designs.
  • If the bond is approved, what is the schedule for the completion of bond proposal projects?
    A preliminary draft of the implementation of the bond projects could look as follows. This schedule is subject to change as market conditions evolve and further review of the highest priorities of the district are finalized. New K-3rd Building Programming & Design: Fall 2022-Fall 2023 Bidding/Award/Contracts: Fall 2023-Late 2023 Pre-Construction & Procurement: Early 2024-Spring 2024 Construction Start: Spring 2024 Construction Finish: Early Summer 2026 Occupancy: Fall 2026 Edwardsburg High School Programming & Design: Late 2023…Fall 2024 Bidding/Award/Contracts: Fall 2024…Late 2024 Pre-Construction & Procurement: Early 2025…Spring 2025 Construction Start: Spring 2025 Construction Finish: Fall 2026 Edwardsburg Middle School / Intermediate School Programming & Design: Fall 2024-Late Spring 2025 Bidding/Award/Contracts: Summer 2025 Pre-Construction & Procurement: Late Summer 2025 Construction Start: Fall 2025 Construction Finish: Fall 2026
  • Why aren’t all of the projects being completed on the same timeline?
    The amount of work being proposed in the bond proposal is significant. As such, our Construction Management partners believe it to be the best practice to stagger the implementation of the projects. This will allow for greater contractor participation and will not overstress the construction market that currently is struggling with labor availability. Greater participation of bidders means greater competition and hopefully better bid results that will benefit the school district.
  • Why do we need a bond proposal?
    Due to the size and scale of school buildings, maintenance, updates and replacement of facilities is costly and often times not possible through the traditional funding received by school districts. Our district has a number of growing needs that require large sums of money to undertake. A bond proposal is the best approach to making the significant updates and improvements needed at EPS. Many school districts in the State of Michigan typically seek approval for bond proposals every 5-10 years. This allows for significant improvements to occur and keep district facilities current. The last bond proposal brought to Edwardsburg Public Schools district voters was in 1998. Ideally, a bond proposal would have been brought to voters sometime around 2010, but the district did not feel it was appropriate based upon the economic downturn during the 2008-2010 timeframe. A bond proposal of $59.6 was brought before voters in August 2022, but was not approved. The November 2022 bond proposal would generate $56 million.
  • What funding sources are available to schools?
    Schools receive funding from a number of sources. A simple breakdown of the sources is as follows: Foundation Per Pupil Allowance* The State of Michigan provides a per pupil amount of funding to school districts. Currently the amount received per pupil is $8,700. Operational Millage (Non-Homestead tax levy)* This is a voter approved tax levy that provides operational funding to support the annual school budget. The current Non-Homestead levy in Edwardsburg is 18 mills. * Staff salaries and benefits account for approximately 80-85% of the use of Foundation and Operational Millage funding. The remainder of these funds are typically used for costs of educational programs, building operation costs and supplies. This leaves very little funding available for facilities improvements. Voter Approved Sinking Funds Voter approved sinking funds provide an annual collection of taxes based upon property values. Typically, the collection provides a smaller amount of funding that allow for minor facilities improvements and renovations. Sinking funds cannot be used for the purchase of buses or furniture. Edwardsburg Public Schools does not currently levy a sinking fund millage. Voter Approved Bond Funds A bond is a state-approved borrowing process for a set scope of projects. When voters approve a bond proposal, the school district sells bonds in the authorized amount and uses the proceeds of the sale to pay for those projects identified in the bond proposal. Bond proposals are most useful when a district needs a large funding source for facility improvement projects. In many ways, the bonding process is like a homeowner obtaining a mortgage and making payments over a period of years. The current levy for past bond projects in Edwardsburg is 3.40 mills.
  • Can any of the bond proposal funds be used for employee salaries or operating expenses?
    No. Bond proposal funds cannot be used for employee salaries. They also cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs or other operating expenses. Bond proposal funds must be used only for purposes specified in the ballot language, and as required by state law, they must be independently audited.
  • How does our current millage rate compare to other districts?
    We appreciate the continued investment the community has made in our school district and have been mindful of our impact to taxpayers by keeping a reasonable levy compared to many surrounding districts.
  • How would the bond proposal affect my taxes?
    If approved, the ballot proposal would allow the district to sell bonds and generate approximately $56 million with a 2.9-mill net increase over the current tax rate. The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2022, under current law, is 3.40 mills ($3.40 on each $1000 of taxable valuations). The maximum number of years that bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-eight (28) years. ​ Of the 2.9 mills estimated for the first year, 0.55 mills are falling off from the existing debt. Thus, for homes in the Edwardsburg Public Schools district, the millage increase from the current levy is 2.35 mills. The net increase in the 2023 millage will be 2.35 mills (5.75 – 3.40 = 2.35). 3.40 mill – School Millage Rate paid in 2022 5.90 mill – School Millage Rate for 2023 of the August 2022 Proposal: 2.50 mill net increase 5.75 mill – School Millage Rate for 2023 of the November Proposal: 2.35 mill net increase 2.35 mill – School Millage Rate Net Increase November Proposal for 2023 * Taxable Value = Approximately 1/2 of Market Value
  • Would all the bonds be sold at one time?
    No. The bonds would be sold in series. A series bond means that voters are asked to approve the overall millage amount once at the November 8, 2022 vote, but then bonds to generate project funds would be sold in stages. The first series would be sold in 2023 and the second series in 2024. This approach is an opportunity to save in interest costs, and it also staggers cashflow for the project, so it is received when needed due to the potential staggered start and completion dates of the proposed projects.
  • How can we maintain the current size of Edwardsburg Public Schools and not become a “Penn” sized district?
    During the strategic planning process, which began before the pandemic, it was made clear to the planning committee that the community wanted the district to remain the same size. Planning for the construction bond has included this goal from the beginning. Any additional classroom space, at any grade level, is specific for the needs of the building, staff members, curricular requirements or modernization. The district enrollment includes approximately 20% School of Choice (SOC) and Tuition students. Since the district has the ability to adjust the number of accepted SOC and Tuition students, we are able to modify the number in order to keep our classrooms at the optimal level while utilizing funding to create the best educational opportunities for all students.
  • Why should I support a bond to fund projects that benefit School of Choice (SOC) students who do not pay the extra taxes?
    By accepting SOC students, and the foundation funding that follows them, Edwardsburg Public Schools is able to reach an enrollment level that enhances our ability to offer programs and curriculum that we would be unable to provide without the additional funding. With the help of families from surrounding communities choosing to attend Edwardsburg Public Schools, our programs continue to be recognized at the highest level of state achievement. The district enrollment includes approximately 20% School of Choice (SOC) and Tuition students. The district has the ability to adjust the number of accepted SOC and Tuition students and are able to modify the number in order to keep our classrooms at the optimal level while utilizing funding to create the best educational experience for all students.
  • Can School of Choice (SOC) families vote in our school bond election?
    Only Edwardsburg School District residents may vote in our school bond election.
  • Why does the ballot language state 2.9 mills will be levied instead of the 2.35 mills that is being marketed?
    The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2022, under current law, is 3.40 mills ($3.40 on each $1000 of taxable valuations). The maximum number of years that bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-eight (28) years. ​ Of the 2.9 mills estimated for the first year, 0.55 mills are falling off from the existing debt. Thus, for homes in the Edwardsburg Public Schools district, the millage increase from the current levy is 2.35 mills.
  • Who can vote in this bond proposal election?
    Residents within the Edwardsburg Public Schools district who will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day and are registered to vote.
  • Where can I get information about voting (such as how to register, where to vote, and absentee voting)?
    Go to the Michigan Voter Information website www.michigan.gov/vote or call the Clerk’s Office where you reside.
  • Do I need to update my voter registration?
    You need to update your voter registration if you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted. You can do this at any Secretary of State Office or at the Clerk’s Office where you reside.
  • Can I vote by absentee ballot?
    Yes. Since voter approval of Proposal 3 in November 2018, registered voters do not need a reason to vote by absentee ballot. You can request an absentee ballot application from your Clerk’s Office or by going online to www.michigan.gov/vote and clicking on Absentee Voting in the left column. Absentee ballots should be available to voters after June 18, 2022 and may be cast through Election Day.
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