2015-02-01 / Front Page

STC schools to seek bond proposal during Feb. 24 special election

Community Counts Committee slates information meeting Feb. 4
By Mandilee Loomis
Staff Reporter

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles Community Schools will be seeking approval from voters on a new bond proposal during a special election on Tuesday, Feb. 24. A bond information meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in the middle/ high school cafeteria where area residents can ask questions and learn more about the proposal.

The Community Counts Committee is a pro-bond committee formed by St. Charles community members that’s intent is to provide and distribute information about the proposal and gather support from the community.

Co-chair Joe Wilkins said the committee has been meeting weekly since October.

“Our main objective is for people to become informed voters,” the St. Charles resident said.

“The reason I became involved is to make sure the voters are informed, to spread information and get that information out. Everyone deserves to be informed first before making decisions, not just what you hear in the grocery store and coffee shop, but to hear the facts and then decide, “Is this good for my community?” “Is this good for the schools?” he said.

Wilkins added, “The response (so far) from community members from events we’ve attended has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The bond proposal is for 1.5 mils, for 19.83 years, which would generate approximately $ 5.2 million. The proposal would cost the average homeowner ($100,000 home) $75.20 per year and $6.27 per month, ($37.60 per year and $3.13 per month for a $50,000 home.)

The project’s scope would help give the district an overall update in many avenues, from safety, security, technology, and building and grounds improvements, to athletics, a 21st Century Learner, and a new Community Center approach.

“St. Charles residents pay the second to least amount in school debt millage (3.0 mills) of the 12 Saginaw County schools. With the passage of this bond St. Charles will only move to eight out of 12 with 4.5 mills levied. The school board should be commended for bringing a fiscally responsible community-centered bond proposal to the voters at this time. When compared to bond amounts recently passed in neighboring districts it was very level-headed of our board to bring just what was needed to voters,” Wilkins added.

A general overview of the proposal’s projects include: Safety/Security: new security cameras in the hallway and at the elementary and middle schools where needed; Technology: assessing the needs for wireless expansion in all the buildings, and the addition of one-to-one initiative tablets, as well as updates to and/ or new classroom projectors, document cameras, mobile carts, updated labs, etc. For the 21st Century Learner piece, the proposal would help support the district’s current Project Based Learning and Leader in Me initiatives. The one-to-one tablets would be checked out to every student at the secondary level to assist with school studies.

When it comes to athletics: the proposal would add an additional performance gym at the district, as well as new bleachers inside the current middle school gym. Other additions include a new personal fitness lab and four new batting cages (two indoors and two outdoors.)

The new addition at the district would encompass a community center approach where the facility would be available to the community in the evening, superintendent Mike Decker stated. This approach would allow for the community’s use of the personal fitness lab, community classrooms, and adult athletic leagues.

In regard to school grounds and building improvements, the project is looking to incorporate drainage improvements to the athletic complex and add additional restrooms there, and add a new septic field near the bathrooms at the concession stand. Other building/grounds improvements may include improvements to and/ or adding new windows and doors, building entrance upgrades at the high school and elementary schools, the possible expansion of the parking lot, and additional bus purchases.

Additional projects include a digital sign at the school entrance, music lockers, and a new stage/drama curtain.

“Our neighboring districts have shown their support for their schools with recent bond passages which include facility and educational upgrades. It is my hope St. Charles voters will do the same for our community,” Wilkins said.

During the Feb. 4 meeting superintendent Mike Decker will give a presentation and share information as well as Community Counts Committee members who will also be in attendance to answer questions.

More information can be found on the district’s website www.stccs.org under the “Bond Proposal Information” tab located in the Quick Links.

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