TRENTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS - DOC by lonyoo

VIEWS: 47 PAGES: 4

									                           TRENTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

                    Frequently Asked Questions
                  About the May 6 school bond election
                                   (Updated April 3, 2008)



What is a bond proposal?

       A bond proposal asks voters to approve the sale of bonds. When the bonds are sold,
they generate revenue for building improvements and equipment purchases.

How can bond monies be used?

        Money generated from the sale of bonds can only be used to pay for capital
improvements that are described in the ballot. Before a bond proposal can be presented to
voters, school officials must review the need for the proposal, the scope of work to be
completed, and the anticipated costs with Department of Treasury officials in Lansing. Once
the Department of Treasury pre-approves the bond proposal, it can be submitted to school
district voters. Trenton’s bond proposal has been pre-approved.

Can bond money be used to pay for salaries or other operating expenses?

      No. By law, money generated from the sale of bonds can only be used for projects pre-
approved by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

What tax rate do residents currently pay for building debt or previous bond
proposals?

        Zero. (Trenton Public Schools is one of the few districts in Michigan that does not levy
any debt millage to maintain district buildings. The last bond proposal was approved by
Trenton voters on June 10, 1968. It was for a twenty-six year bond. The district paid the bonds
off in 1993; however, the district stopped levying taxes for the issue in 1983 (and instead paid
for the cost of the bonds with general fund money).

Why is the bond proposal necessary?

       Trenton currently has clean--but aged--buildings. With an average age of 49 years, our
buildings are now showing their age. This bond proposal will help the district create healthy
environments for students, improve safety and security, and address technology needs.
How will the bond proposal impact property values?

       Studies have concluded that quality schools with adequate space and updated facilities
protect property values and that homeowners and prospective home buyers want to live in a
community with good public schools. Approval of the bond proposal will position the district
to continue the investment the community has made in the Trenton Public Schools by
maintaining the facilities and enhancing the educational program for students.

What is the difference between the district’s general fund and bond (capital
project) fund?

       General fund dollars are used to pay for the day-to-day operation of the school district.
Operating fund expenses include such things as classroom instruction, support services, wages,
benefits, purchased services, routine repairs, supplies, and materials.

        School districts establish a capital project fund (through the sale of bonds) when large
scale building improvement projects are needed. Allowable uses include the purchase and
development of sites; erecting, furnishing and equipping new buildings or building additions;
remodeling, refurnishing, and re-equipping existing buildings; purchasing educational
technology; acquiring school buses; developing and improving playgrounds, playfields, athletic
fields and facilities and sites. All projects must be pre-approved by the Department of Treasury
and can only be used to pay for those projects described in the ballot.

Why doesn’t the school district pay for building updates from the general
operating fund?

     To pay for building updates of this magnitude would be difficult given the amount of
money that is available in the operating fund.

Where has the money come from in previous years to pay for building
maintenance and repairs?

       Since the 1968 bonds were paid off, regular, routine building maintenance has been
provided through the school district’s operational funds. However, the School Board has
concluded that major updates are now needed at all school facilities. These updates include
replacement of roofs, heating, electrical, ventilation, and exhaust systems. The costs of these
projects exceed the district’s annual operational fund.
Where do the school district’s operational funds come from?

        Prior to the passage of Proposal A in the early 1990s, all school taxes were collected
locally and stayed within each school community. Our community was fortunate to have a
large industrial tax base which kept taxes low for residents. The tax base provided the revenue
to fund the school district’s educational program and maintain school facilities.

        With the passage of Proposal A, the funding formula for schools changed. All property
owners in the State of Michigan continue to pay school taxes; however, taxes now are collected
locally and sent to the State of Michigan for distribution to all public school districts across
Michigan. Trenton residents no longer benefit to the same degree from our industrial tax base.

What will the bond proposal cost residents?

       The total amount of the bond proposal is $37.08 million. This translates to a projected
tax increase for 2008 of 2.65 mills. The cost to the average homeowner (who lives in a home
with a market value of $150,000) is anticipated to be approximately $199 per year (or about 54
cents a day). After receiving the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit, costs will be less
for senior citizens and for residents with incomes under $70,000.

      To calculate your projected cost, the school district has included special software on its
website (www.trenton.k12.mi.us). The software is free and easy to use.

What will my tax rate be?

       Trenton’s bond issue has been structured using several conservative assumptions to
assure that the debt millage rate remains at or below 2.65 mills. If the District’s tax base
shrinks or grows at a slower rate than the current debt repayment schedule assumes, there may
or may not be a need to increase the debt millage rate. The financial advisor has, for planning
purposes, assumed a higher interest rate than we expect to commit to when the bonds are sold.
The District has also been conservative in its assumptions regarding the future growth of the
District’s tax base to minimize the risk that the debt millage rate will ever need to be higher
than 2.65 mills.

Why is the purchase of technology included in this bond proposal?

       Most of Trenton’s computers and technological hardware has exceeded its five-year life
expectancy. Many of our computers cannot run today’s advanced software. And, some of our
classrooms can’t use technology because they don’t have enough electrical outlets. It is a
challenge to enhance our classroom instruction and graduate students who can compete in the
global marketplace without up-to-date equipment and programs.

        The proposal also includes reworking electrical systems to provide the infrastructure
required to operate today’s technology. Updates include additional wiring and expansion of
electrical circuits.
Does the bond proposal include the construction of new facilities?

      No. The bond proposal improves existing buildings. No new buildings will be
constructed.

What projects will be completed through the bond proposal?

       The purpose of the bond proposal is to address basic needs of Trenton school buildings.
It focuses on three major areas:

       1) creating healthy schools by renovating school facilities, including upgrades to
          HVAC systems and replacing roofs, windows, waterlines, and lighting.

       2) improving safety and security at all facilities, including improvements to
          security monitoring systems, controlling access to facilities through designated
          entries, and updating video surveillance.

       3) providing technology, program and equipment updates, including
          replacement of outdated computers and technology, updating furniture, and
          providing necessary wiring for technology.

Who can vote on the bond proposal?

      All registered voters who live in the Trenton Public Schools are eligible to vote on the
bond proposal.

When will the polls be open?

      Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 pm. on Tuesday, May 6, 2008.

What if I am unable to go to the polls on Election Day?

       Applications to vote by absentee ballot can be obtained from the Trenton City Clerk’s
Office. The phone number for this office is 734-675-8600.

Where do I vote?

       Residents will vote at their regular voting precincts. Information may be obtained from
the Trenton City Clerk’s office at 734-675-8600.

How can I get more information about the bond proposal?

       More information about the bond proposal is available at the school district website
(http://www.trenton.k12.mi.us).

       You can also call or e-mail Superintendent Dr. John Savel (734/676.8600 —
savelj@trenton.k12.mi.us).

								
To top