Saline Area Schools will be looking to the voters in November
The bond proposal that's expected to go before voters in Saline Area Schools in November is a renewal question, but with some slight changes from the previous one.
If approved, there would a decrease in the millage rate. And as far as what would be done, there would be more of an emphasis on the educational environment.
The Saline school district has started to roll out its campaign to educate and inform the community about the bond question. The school district is currently working on the ballot language in order for it to go on the Nov. 8 ballot.
As part of the roll out, David Raft, Principal of Operations for Saline Area Schools, went before the Saline City Council at its June 20 meeting to begin the discussion about the bond. He emphasized there will be more to come in the upcoming weeks and months as far as what the bond would do with things such as planning visuals and additional details as the district works to further inform and educate the community.
In giving some history, Raft said the 2015 bond is coming to a close and will be wrapping up next year. The 2015 bond was a $79 million one that was approved by the community with a message of safe, warm and dry. It focused on infrastructure and safety. It helped pay for building improvements such as the adding of vestibule areas at different buildings, roofs to elementary buildings, a new office at Pleasant Ridge and HVAC systems.
These are just some of the projects as part of the 2015 bond.
It is still being used on. A current project is the updating of the roof at Pleasant Ridge while at the middle school it’s helping to put in a new boiler system and renovate the gym. Work on that bond will go into next summer when it ends.
Looking ahead to the possibilities of the renewal, if approved in November, Raft said the focus would be more on education to go along with some needed infrastructure updates.
One thing voters/district taxpayers will notice about the bond question is that the renewal is not a flat one, but rather it is one with a .5 mill decrease. The millage rate would go from 8 mills to 7.5 mills. It would generate $180 million over 10 years, 2023-2033.
Raft said the district made a commitment to voters in 2015 that if they came back to ask for a renewal they would reduce the rate.
The new bond would add or renovate space in all buildings. Raft said a big focus would be on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) spaces. Rather than the traditional classroom space, the STEAM spaces would be devoted specifically to enhancing the hands-on aspect of STEAM learning.
Another area the bond renewal would help address is with capacity. According to Raft, there are space issues in the buildings. One place currently at capacity is the Heritage 4-5 building and another is Pleasant Ridge.
Some of the infrastructure upkeep, again if the new bond is approved, would include new roofs at the high school, middle school and Harvest Elementary. Work such as HVAC, keeping up on new technologies and security enhancements would also continue.
The proposal could also bring some changes at the senior center/middle school. This location could see the cosmetology program come in along with a STEAM center while the district’s transportation would leave and potentially go to another separate location.
Other improvements would be planned to the middle school with updates done to the track and tennis courts along with playground projects around the district.
These are just some of the details.
The district will have more to come as it further explains the question that will go before voters.