Onekama Consolidated Schools seek two proposals in November election

The Onekama Consolidated Schools Board of Education is bringing two bond proposals before the district in the November election.

The Onekama Consolidated Schools Board of Education is bringing two bond proposals before the district in the November election.

MANISTEE — One of the issues voters in the Onekama Consolidated School District will be deciding in the Nov. 4 school election is two bond proposals for improvements to the school grounds.

Rising costs and shrinking funds are prompting many districts throughout the state to seek bond proposals of this nature to cover the costs of things above what can be done with general fund money. Superintendent Kevin Hughes speaks today on what those improvements would entail and what the cost would be to the taxpayers of the district.

News Advocate:Why did the Onekama Consolidated Schools Board of Education make this decision to seek a bond proposal in the November election?

Hughes: We chose the November election because the cost of the election will be shared by all the parties involved with issues on the ballot. If we run a special election it costs the district approximately $8,000.

News Advocate: Can you explain what Proposal 1 will address?

Hughes

Hughes

Hughes: Proposal 1 is to update infrastructure and add additional security and two new busses. The heating and cooling system will be updated by replacing 15 unit ventilators, a shoulder boiler and digital controls for the 1950, 1960 and 1997 additions. The roofs being replaced are on the 1997 and 1960 sections of the building. Security updates will include K-12 entrance doors with key cards, cameras at entrances, and additional cameras at the parking lot and football field. The length of the proposal reflects the life of the assets.

News Advocate: What is Proposal 2 and what things will it address?

Hughes: Proposal 2 is to update the technology on the K-12 Campus: K-5 iPads, 6-12 Mac Airs, lab computers, teacher aid computers, new phone system, instructional projectors with sound system (K-12). These updates will include infrastructure updates of wireless access points, switching infrastructure and cabling. The length of the proposal reflects the life of the assets.

News Advocate: What is going to be the cost to the average homeowner if these bond proposals are approved?

Hughes: Proposal 1 is .35 of a mill which is 35 cents on each $1,000 of taxable valuation. For example, a house with a taxable value of $50,000 ($100,000 house), the cost per year would be $17.50. Proposal 1 is for 15 years.

Proposal 2 is .27 of mill which is 27 cents on each $1,000 of taxable valuation. Using the same example, a house with a taxable value of $50,000 ($100,000 house), the cost per year would be $13.50. Proposal 2 is for seven years.

The Onekama Consolidated Schools’ website has a link to www.mytaxcalc.com/onekama, and we suggest that you access this tool to determine the amount it would cost your individual household.

News Advocate: Why is the district seeking a technology bond when the district just moved to one-to-one technology that was purchased with general fund money?

Hughes: Actually, the district entered into a lease/purchase agreement for 37 iPads and 270 Mac Book Airs. The technology bond would pay off the lease/purchase agreement and also allow us to purchase 105 iPads that are being used in the one-to-one that are just about out dated. We went ahead with this lease/purchase as we feel that technology is so integral in student success that it could not wait until the November election to get these essential tools into the staff and students hands.

Again, this technology bond does much more than the physical devices. The proposal replaces outdated lab computers, teacher aid computers, phone system, classroom projectors, (K-12) wireless access points, switching infrastructure and cabling.

News Advocate: Is this bond proposal going to solve all the current building, security, and grounds needs for the district?

Hughes: After many meetings with regional and local experts we analyzed the roofs, heating and cooling, technology and the athletic complex. The citizens’ advisory committee recommended two proposals. These proposed projects are considered needs that the district currently has and to forego these fixes will result in longterm additional costs to fix, higher maintenance bills and energy costs and less security and student learning being restricted by lack of technology.

Large buildings, such as the Onekama schools complex, always will and continue to have upgrades. Foregoing such updates will cost the taxpayer more in the end.

News Advocate: If someone would like more information or have someone come speak to their group about the upcoming proposal, who should they contact?

Hughes: They may contact myself, Kevin Hughes, Superintendent of Onekama Consolidated Schools. My email is khughes@manistee.org or they can call me (231) 889-4251.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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