FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Submit your own question regarding the 2021 Referendum using the ASK A QUESTION button below. We will post your questions and the answers below.
What was the sinking fund used for, are we still paying for this, and why is additional money needed?
The sinking fund milage was passed in 2014 and runs for two more years, or through 2023. While the exact proceeds from the sinking fund vary each year based on property value in the school district, approximately $650,000 is generated through this fund each year. What is important to understand is that while the sinking fund is generally used for facility related projects, there are State restrictions on precisely what the money can be used for. The amount of money raised each year and what it is used for is audited by the State each year to be sure it is accounted for properly.
To date, the following projects have been completed by Menominee Area Public Schools with the sinking fund money:
Jr/Sr HS Classroom Windows: $870,000
Jr/Sr HS Asbestos Abatement Project: $1,600,000
Jr/Sr HS Gym Roof: $215,000
Jr/Sr HS Heat Exchangers (part of the boiler system): $87,000
Blesch Roof: $383,000
Jr/Sr HS CTE Shop Improvements: $31,000
Jr/Sr HS Roof (2-story section only): $987,000
Electronic Door Access Control: $5,000
There is an approximate $1,000,000 balance currently in reserve in the sinking fund that could be spent, however, this is currently being preserved to pay for needed repairs at Central Elementary and Blesch Intermediate Schools. The school district has opted to be fiscally responsible and not spend this money on school repairs until a definitive plan is in place regarding the future use of these buildings. The community will have an opportunity this fall to provide input into this planning. Although the sinking fund milage will not be taxed for after 2023, the reserve proceeds can still be spent on projects planned after 2023.
Unfortunately, there are several additional projects required at the Jr/Sr HS that remain and are not able to be paid for from the remainder of the sinking fund but will be addressed through the referendum. Some of these projects include:
Replacement of the original heating and ventilation system in the school/classrooms with a central ducted system that provides the air quality and distribution required.
Remodeling to complete a secure main entryway into the building and provide safety for our students and staff.
Replace the original windows that were not replaced with the sinking fund. Only the classroom windows were replaced and many more are still original. (Windows that have brown trim have been replaced and windows with silver trim are original and require replacement.)
Complete the roof replacement project where it has not already been done. This represents approximately half of the HS roof area. (In an arial picture, new roofs are white and older roofs are black.)
Along with the roofing projects, the facia panels need to be replaced as they also contain asbestos. (White panels require replacement, brown panels are new.)
Many exterior doors in the building are original and are rusting out at the bottom and require replacement.
LED lighting was installed on the first floor of the HS where asbestos was removed, however, LED lighting will be added where still needed on the second story and in any area of the building that is not two-story. LED lighting is better for student learning and much more cost effective from an energy standpoint.
Current ADA accessibility laws were not in place when the original building was designed and built. The referendum will provide several updates to address these needs including replacement of the elevator.
Replacement of the parking lot. The parking lot has been patched to the point where it can no longer be repaired cost effectively and requires replacement. Some sidewalks and original concrete also require replacement.
If the referendum is approved, what happens next?
If the referendum is successful, engineering and architectural work will begin as soon as possible. School administration, buildings and grounds staff as well as Jr./Sr. High School staff will be involved in the scheduling and logistics of the work. Bid documents would be ready by early 2022 for much of the work with implementation of projects being completed during the summer of 2022.
The Menominee community is strong and the future is bright. Yet, we have significant needs in our schools. The Jr./Sr. High School is a facility that will be a part of our school district for years to come, but much like our homes, updating and reinvestment is needed to prolong the life of the building and provide appropriate safe, healthy, and relevant spaces for students to learn and grow. Interest rates are at a historically low rate but anticipated to increase while construction costs continue to increase each year. The longer we wait, the more it will cost to complete the work required. The school board wants to be as fiscally responsible as possible and this allows us to get the biggest return from the taxpayers' investment.
What is the timing for the projects at the Jr./Sr. High School?
If the referendum is successful, engineering and architectural work is planned to be completed in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022. Most of the project work is planned to be completed during the summer of 2022. Bids for the contracting work will be solicited in January with contractors being selected shortly after.
How do I get more information?
The best place to get additional information and details about the referendum is on the district's website www.gomaroons.org/page/ref2021 There are also a variety of printed materials being distributed including a mailer to every household in the district. The district's Facebook page is also a good source for information including short videos explaining much of the project work planned.
Why a referendum? Doesn’t the district have funds to pay for repairs and maintenance?
The school district allocates money from its regular budget each year for routine maintenance and repairs in our facilities, however, state funding formulas don't provide enough money to complete major repairs and renovations to our building. Major capital projects need to be funded through local tax dollars, most often approved through a referendum process.
How were the needs determined?
We started with an in-depth review of all of our facilities, including details such as indoor air quality, CO2 levels, light & noise levels, adequacy of learning environments, safety, etc. An independent engineering firm did this review and presented findings to the Board. We then assembled a group of community members to serve as an advisory committee to the Board. They met over several months to understand the assessments and develop options. Ultimately they made a unanimous recommendation to the School Board on priorities, solutions and funding. We are proud that our community had a strong voice in the process!
Can money from the bond program be used to pay for salaries?
No, that is against state law. Bond proceeds may NOT be spent on operating expenses. Bond proceeds may NOT be used for the following items: salaries, wages, retirement, health care, benefits, retirement, general operating expenses, facility maintenance, classroom supplies, and textbooks.
How can I be assured the funds will be spent as promised?
The district’s bond proceeds will need to be spent pursuant to state law. Bond projects are presented and approved by the Board of Education in open meetings and all district financials are audited each year.
What are the projects that are being planned for the Jr./Sr. High School?
There are many needs at the Jr./Sr. High School that are planned to be addressed with this referendum. The capital improvement projects include: ·
Replace Unit Vents with Central HVAC System
LED Lighting Upgrade
Roof replacements ·
Exterior Window and Door Replacement Where Needed
Sidewalks and Parking Lot
Install ADA Compliant Door Hardware
Electronic Access Control and Door Alarms
When does Absentee Voting take place?
Beginning 40 days before the Election (June 24th) you can vote early in person or apply for an absentee ballot at your City/Township Clerk's office. You can apply for the absentee ballot and vote that ballot during the same visit! Early voting continues until 4pm the day before the Election. If you prefer, you can bring your ballot home to vote, just be sure to return the ballot by 8pm on Election Day.
How do I get an Absentee ballot?
Absentee voting is available and no reason is required. The last day to request an absentee ballot is 4 days before the election. You can return your absentee ballot request form through mail, in person at your local elections office, or online. Voted ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted. You can sign up to track your absentee ballot on your Department of State website. Absentee ballots begin being counted on Election Day. Follow this link for the absentee ballot application and further instructions: Absentee Ballot Applications
Who is Eligible for an Absent Voter Ballot?
Due to the passage of the statewide ballot proposal 18-3, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may now request an absentee voter ballot without providing a reason.
Where can I get information about voter registration?
The Michigan Voter Information Center is online at michigan.gov/vote You can find out if you are registered to vote, register to vote online, find your voting location, and request and track your absentee ballot.
How will this impact my taxes?
The project will impact the average residential homestead property owner in Menominee Area Public School district with a $5.01 monthly ($60.12 annually) property tax impact. This is based on an average assessed value home of $77,600 (or $38,800 taxable value).
If my home value goes up or down with the economy, how is my individual bond contribution impacted?
The individual’s bond contribution would fluctuate with the taxable value of their home. However, to the extent that the district’s overall taxable value grows more than projected, the millage rate would be reduced, and the impact on taxpayers would decrease accordingly.
If MAPS has a big taxpayer move in (or out) of the district, how does it impact the amount I pay for the bond?
All of the calculations are based on total taxable value for the school district. If a large taxpayer moves into the district, resulting in a higher taxable value of the district than projected, the millage rate would be reduced. On the other hand, if a large taxpayer moves out of the district, resulting in the lower taxable value of the district than projected, the millage rate may need to be increased.
Are any cost savings anticipated from the facility upgrades?
Several of the projects that are planned to be completed with the referendum funds are energy savings projects (e.g. replacement of the heating & ventilation systems; installation of new energy efficient LED lighting; sealing the building envelope like doors & windows). These will reduce the amount of money spent on energy bills and can be used for other things.
Weren't the roof and windows just replaced on the Senior High School?
While some windows and roofs have been replaced at the Jr/Sr High School, not all have been completed at this point. Money from the sinking fund was used to complete some of this work. Windows in most of the main student classroom areas were replaced, however, there are many original windows that still remain in the building that would be replaced as part of the referendum. The main U-shaped roof on the two-story section of the building has been replaced along with the gym roof at this point, however several roof sections remain on the building that require replacing and haven't been able to be completed. Roofing pricing have increased significantly since the sinking fund was passed and the referendum will allow these necessary projects to be completed. If you review an arial picture of the Jr/Sr High School, the roofs that are white in color have been replaced, and the roofs that are dark gray in color have not been replaced yet.
Why is this current referendum being split into two phases? Why start with the Jr/Sr High School and not start with the elementary and intermediate schools?
This question can be answered from two important perspectives:
While the sinking fund has been able to address many of the building systems concerns at the Jr/Sr High School, several projects remain. The projects identified are critical to ensuring the longevity of the building and protecting the invest the community made to build the school years ago. The solutions are clear and straight forward and will have an immediate impact on improving student learning as well as reducing operating costs. Completing these projects now is fiscally responsible, by taking advantage of historically low interest rates and avoiding continued construction inflation.
Determining the best solution to “right-sizing” the elementary and intermediate schools and address current and future enrollment needs is a complex issue with several options that the school board wants to be sure to get right. Answering the many questions that surround this issue will take some time and require an expanded engaging of the community. This work is anticipated to begin in the fall of this year (2021).
Are we still paying for modifications to Lincoln School?
The answer here is NO, payments are no longer being made for improvements at Lincoln Elementary School. Modifications and upgrades were made to Lincoln Elementary School in the early 1990s (about 30 years ago). The bonding that financed that project has been paid and is no longer a part of our property tax bill.
Will local businesses be able to bid on and complete to work that is proposed as part of this referendum?
YES! Any qualified contractor will be provided an opportunity to bid on the work that is needed to complete the projects at the Jr/Sr High School. Our engineering partners will help us complete the project specifications and bid documents necessary. These will then be provided to anyone interested in working on the projects. All vendor decisions will be made by, and all contracts will be awarded by the Menominee Area Public Schools.
How was the $12,000,000 amount derived? Is it more than what is actually needed? If the bids come in less than the amount, does the rest just get spent, or is the excess not taxed?
The total amount of the bond was derived through project estimating that was completed by our engineering partners. A combination of information was used to determine the estimate, including: industry standard costs; similar and recently completed projects by our engineering partners; and recent bids obtained by the school district. While there is some contingency cost involved in the estimating to account for potential inflation and cost increases with scope modification, the total amount being asked for in the referendum is what we anticipate needing to spend to accomplish the work outlined. If bids come in less than anticipated and there are additional funds remaining, the school district and school board will need to decide how the extra money is used, whether that is used for additional projects or returned to the taxpayers. By law, any additional projects that may be completed, however, would need to meet the conditions of the referendum. Money that is left over cannot be used for things like general school operations, learning materials, salaries, benefits, etc.
Secured entry way in front and back? Does this mean a closed campus? If not, how will it be controlled when students come and go for lunch or other appointments? Will the High school be a closed campus to help secure the school? How will the doors be controlled if not a closed campus for lunch time?
The security of the school is not predicated on whether there is a closed campus or an open campus (allowing students to come and go throughout the day). Security protocols dictate how students, staff and visitors are able to gain entry into the building when they do come and go. All doors are locked during the school day and the secure entryway would require all visitors to enter through the main office so that they can register with school staff prior to entering the school. Students who need to come and go through the door near the student parking lot are anticipated to be able to continue doing this. Students entering in this location can be verified through a camera and two-way voice communication from the office and then buzzed into the building.