Meridian Public Schools is asking voters to vote on a 1.18 mil bond in November. We have two community meetings planned. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10th at 7pm in the Meridian Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room. The second is on Tuesday, October 17th at 6pm in the High School. We invite the community to come and see the plans and ask questions. The bond will cover the following projects:
- Sanford Elementary Early Childhood Center
- Playground drainage issue
- Fencing for the playground security
- New energy efficient boilers
- Meridian Elementary School
- Removal of the portable classrooms and replaced by four classrooms
- Renovations to the 1959 and 1988 classrooms
- Gymnasium floor resurfacing and acoustical improvements
- Replacement of Student lockers
- Electrical upgrades in the older parts of the building
- Restroom renovations
- Office renovation
- Meridian Junior High School
- New band classroom due to the expansion of the band program
- Meridian Early College High School
- Construction of an auditorium
- Construction of a Multi-Purpose building for athletics
- Kitchen relocation and renovation
- Robotics maker space
- Around the Campus
- New bus garage with storage and wash bay
- Relocated ticket booth to the football field
- Expanded football bleachers and press-box due to capacity needs
- Bus upgrades
- Technology upgrades
- Administration Office renovation
The picture included with this post is one of the drawings we have of the proposed areas. The picture is of the new auditorium.
More detailed information can be found on our website, www.merps.org and clicking on Bond Information.
Q: How much will this cost me?
A: The tax increase is determined by multiplying the taxable value by .00118. A home with a market value of $100,000 and a taxable value of $50,000 would see a yearly tax increase of $59.00. A tool has been provided on the website to calculate the specific cost of the bond issue based on the taxable value of your property.
Q:Has the Board of Education taken advantage of the historically low interest rates to save the taxpayers money?
A: The Board of Education refunded the 2000 Bonds in 2014 saving taxpayers $269,326 in interest. The 2006 Bonds were refunded in 2015 and the interest saved was $1,234,374. The total interest savings for both refundings was $1,503,700.
Q: If this proposal passes, when will the work begin and will students be displaced?
A: The preliminary plan is to limit disruptions on students and teachers and make sure that we fiscally manage the project in a manner maximizes the available dollars. Our architects and construction manager are recommending that we put the majority of the project out to bid in the summer in 2018 with new construction starting in September. That is based on getting the most competitive bids possible as September is a time when most contractors are looking for fall/winter work. Starting in September with plans to get walls and roofs built before winter and to ensure that bids come in within the budget. This new construction is not expected to displace students. The construction on the auditorium, elementary classrooms, gymnasium and bus garage would proceed without displacing students. The band room at the Junior High would be remodeled as soon as the bus garage is completed. The remodeling of current classrooms at Meridian Elementary would take place over the summer of 2019. Most of the project will be completed by September of 2019.
Q: What is the current tax levy and where would it be if the bond passes?
A: The current levy is at 5.82 mills. If the voters approve this bond issue, the levy would be set at 7.00 mills, which is an estimated increase of 1.18 mills. 7.00 is the threshold where the School Bond Loan Funds limits the amount levied on taxpayers to no more than 7.00 for qualified bonds.
Q: If the cost for the project was less, would that impact the tax increase?
A: The Board of Education reviewed the project and the impact on taxpayers. Because of the 7.00 mill maximum levy, a $6M project would still require an increase of 1.18 mills and a $6M project would not address the needs that have been identified. The difference between the $6M and a $20M project is the amount of time required to pay off the debt.
Q: The 2014 Bond still has two more series. What is included in those projects?
A: Additional bonds will be issued for work in 2018 and 2022. Some of the projects that will take place includes: roof replacement, drain field extension, technology, fire alarm upgrade, administration office renovation, exterior improvements and stage lighting. There are no projects that add additional structures in the 2014 bond.
Q: I noticed that the administration office was mentioned as needing renovations in the 2018 bond proposal and with the 2014 bond, can you explain the reason for that?
A: The primary reason for this is that required records are currently housed in one of the portable buildings on campus. In order to eliminate all the portable buildings, we need to ensure that there is ample storage space, we will add on 800 sq. ft. to the administration office.
Q: If the bond passes, will the stage lighting replacement still take place?
A: We would eliminate any duplication of projects such as stage lighting if this proposal is approved by the voters.
Q: How does the language appear on the ballot?
MERIDIAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Shall Meridian Public Schools, Midland County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Twenty Million Three Hundred Thirty Thousand Dollars ($20,330,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, for the purpose of:
erecting, furnishing, and equipping new school facilities; erecting, furnishing, and equipping additions to and remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing, and equipping and re-equipping existing school facilities; acquiring and installing instructional technology in school facilities; purchasing school buses; and erecting, furnishing, equipping, developing, and improving playgrounds, athletic fields and facilities, 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 1.18 mills ($1.18 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation). The maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-five (25) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.40 mills ($3.40 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).
The school district expects to borrow from the State School Bond Qualification and Loan Program to pay debt service on the proposed bonds and on additional qualified bonds that have been voter-approved but not yet issued. The estimated total principal amount of the borrowing for the proposed bonds is $3,821,939 and the estimated total interest to be paid thereon is $2,715,298. The estimated total principal amount of the borrowing for the additional bonds, if issued, will be $5,055,359 and the estimated total interest to be paid thereon will be $4,191,788. The estimated duration of the millage levy associated with the borrowing for only the proposed bonds is 17 years. If the additional bonds are issued, it will extend the estimated duration of the millage levy associated with the borrowing by 5 years. The estimated computed millage rate for such levy is 7 mills. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.
The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $17,750,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $-0-.
(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)
If you have further questions, you may come to our community meetings on the days listed above or you may contact the Administration Office at 989-687-3200. It is a great day to Reach Higher in Mustang Country.