Frequently Asked Questions
When is the election?
The election is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Absentee ballots will be available after September 22.
What is on the ballot?
Registered voters residing within the boundaries of the Grosse Pointe Public School System (GPPSS) will vote on a $111,040,000 bond proposal.
Why has the school district scheduled this bond election?
The bond proposal being requested addresses school district-wide safety, security, and infrastructure improvements.
The proposed project list was developed as part of the district’s strategic facility management program which featured a study by a Blue Ribbon Facilities Committee, a facilities assessment by nationally recognized Plante Moran Cresa, and a series of Town Hall meetings attended by more than 300 school district residents.
If approved by voters, projects funded through the bond proposal will affect all GPPSS students and every GPPSS school.
What’s included in the bond proposal?
Bond proposal projects fall into four major categories with the overall goal of keeping our students safe, warm, dry, and connected.
Keeping Students Safe: The school district will implement safety and security improvements that include constructing secure vestibules to existing school district buildings, installing security cameras, updating PA systems, completing asbestos abatement in ceilings where energy efficient lighting is being installed, and installing door locking systems in all GPPSS buildings. Inaddition, the district will make improvements to building sites, including paving, fencing, and emergency lighting at GPPSS facilities;
Keeping Students Dry: The school district will equip, furnish, re-equip and refurnish GPPSS buildings, facilities, and structures. The focus will be on roofs, energy conservation, and mechanical system improvements;
Keeping Students Warm: The school district will install efficient HVAC systems (boilers/air handlers/electrical upgrades).
Keeping Students Connected: he school district will acquire and install technology infrastructure (building-wide wiring to support instructional technology equipment). The bond proposal will not provide one-to-one technology.
How will the bond proposal affect each school?
The bond proposal projects at each school can be summarized in four categories: safe, warm, dry, and connected.
Bond items related to safe include:
- secure vestibules
- doors that lock from inside the classroom not the hallway
- integrated security camera systems
- more security cameras throughout the buildings and grounds
- updated public address (PA) systems
- technology infrastructure (NOT end-user devices like student computers or chrome books)
- asbestos abatement (particularly where energy efficient lighting is being installed in ceilings)
Bond items related to warm include:
- efficient HVAC systems (boilers, air handlers)
- electrical upgrades
Bond items related to dry include:
- replacing roofs
- masonry and tuck-pointing work
- updating bathrooms
Bond items related to connected include:
- instructional technology infrastructure (wiring, cabling, and classroom technology)
What will the bond proposal cost?
If approved by voters, there will be a 1.5 mill increase in the current tax rate. The bonds will be sold in two series to reduce overall interest costs.
What will the bond proposal cost homeowners if it is approved?
To determine your annual cost, multiply 0.0015 x the State Equalized Value (SEV) of your home. (Your SEV should be approximately one-half the market value of your home. Hence, if your home would sell for $300,000, the SEV is $150,000.)
Some examples of homeowner cost appear below:
Home Market Value Annual Cost Monthly Cost $ 200,000 $ 150 $ 13 $ 300,000 $ 225 $ 19 $ 400,000 $ 300 $ 25
How does the bond issue address the educational needs of the GPPSS?
The November 6 bond proposal was developed to support the Grosse Pointe Public School System strategic facilities management program. The renovations and upgrades support the school district’s efforts to enhance security and student safety, to support the district’s instructional program and to protect the community’s investment in its schools.
Many of the upgrades and renovations in the bond proposal are dictated by the school district’s aging facilities. (The average age of a Grosse Pointe school is 77 years!) These upgrades and renovations are designed to accommodate advances in energy efficiency and technology, and to replace items that are at or beyond their life expectancy.
What is the schedule for bond proposal projects?
Work on the projects will begin shortly after voter approval of the November 6 bond proposal.
What will happen if the bond proposal is not approved by voters?
The bond proposal projects will not be completed as proposed.
Can any of the bond proposal funds be used for operating expenses, such as salaries
No. Bond proposal funds cannot be used for operating costs, such as staff salaries and benefits (as is indicated at the bottom of the ballot proposal). They also cannot be used for repair 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.
If the bond proposal is approved by voters, will property values be impacted?
The bond proposal was designed to continue protecting the community’s investment in its schools. According to area realtors, the strength of the GPPSS is a primary reason that home buyers are interested in residing within the boundaries of the GPPSS.
Does the school district have any buildings it can sell?
Plante Moran Cresa prepared a real estate assessment for the Blue Ribbon Facilities Committee. It indicates that the sale or leasing of property would not generate enough money to address the projects in the bond proposal. The district continues to entertain lease and sale opportunities and the Board of Education approved parameters on June 11, 2018 for a plan to address declining student enrollment.
The school district will use the Plante Moran Cresa data in future discussions about right-sizing the school district for current and future enrollment.
What is the difference between a bond and a sinking fund?
A bond is a State-approved funding 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 in the bond proposal. Bonds are usually paid back in 20-30 years. In many ways, the bonding process is like a homeowner obtaining a mortgage and making payments over a period of years.
Bonds can be used for:
- Constructing new school buildings
- Constructing additions to existing school buildings
- Remodeling existing school buildings
- Energy conservation improvements
- Land purchases
- Site development and improvements
- Athletic and physical education facility development and improvements
- Playground development and improvements
- Refunding debt (if new present value savings can be demonstrated)
- Direct bond program costs such as professional fees, election fees, issuance costs, qualification fees, insurance fees, final audit costs
- School bus purchases
- Purchasing loose furnishings and equipment (including administrative technology)
- Technology purchases limited to hardware and communication devices that transmit, receive or compute information for pupil instructional purposes only. The initial purchase of operating system and customized application software is allowed if purchased with the initial hardware.
Bonds cannot be used for:
- Salaries, service contracts, lease payments, installment contracts, and supplies
- Repairs, maintenance, or maintenance agreements
- Purchasing automobiles, trucks, or vans
- Portable classrooms purchased for temporary use
- Upgrades to an existing computer operating system or application software
- Computer training, computer consulting, or computer maintenance agreements
A sinking fund is a pay-as-you-go method of generating tax revenue. As a matter of comparison, a sinking fund is like a savings account into which a school district can deposit voter-approved local millage to pay cash for urgent building projects or repairs as they arise. Sinking funds are usually 5-10 years in length, are capped by law at 3.0 mills, and are not intended to finance major projects.
Why not increase the sinking fund instead of requesting voters to approve a bond proposal?
GPPSS’ current 1.0 mill sinking fund generates approximately $2.5 million per year. This sinking fund will expire in 2019.
If the school district asked voters to approve the maximum allowable 3.0 mills for a sinking fund, the 3.0 mill sinking fund would generate $7.5 million per year, taking almost 15 years to fund the projects contained in the bond proposal.
Who can vote in this bond proposal election?
Residents of the Grosse Pointe Public School System who will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day and are registered to vote by October 9, 2018.
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 (webapps.sos.state.mi.us) or call the Clerk’s Office where you reside.
Do I need to update my voter registration?
If you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted, you need to update your voter registration. Do this at any Secretary of State Office or at the Clerk’s Office where you reside.
Can I vote by absentee ballot?
Registered voters can vote by absentee ballot if they meet one of the following criteria:
- They expect to be out of town on Election Day.
- They are 60 years of age or older.
- They are unable to vote without assistance at the polls.
- They cannot attend the polls due to religious reasons.
Absentee ballots will be available to voters after September 22. The Clerk in each GPPSS community will mail absentee ballot applications to residents on the permanent absentee voter list shortly before or shortly after that date.
Between September 22 and 4:00 p.m. on November 3, voters can complete their absentee ballot application and vote in one stop at their Clerk’s Office.
To get more information about the bond proposal and answers to your questions..
Call any school principal
Contact Superintendent Gary Niehaus at 313/432-3010