FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. How are you able to obtain $25 million in bond proceeds and not raise our taxes?

 

While this is not an increase in taxes, the money is generated by asking you to extend the time period paying the same amount by "X" number of years (in this case 20).  

 

School Districts that do not ask for an extension of what they pay eventually do become debt-free. However, when needs arise for those school districts that cannot be covered through the general fund, a request for bonds would raise taxes, and successful passage is very challenging. 

 

School facilities and infrastructure must be maintained, and if a district is forced to use general funds for that purpose, programs (and students) would suffer.

HISTORY AND FEATURES

 

1. What is on the August 3, 2021 ballot?

 

On August 3, 2021, voters in the Swan Valley School District will be asked to consider a bond proposal to implement improvements at our school buildings and sites. This bond proposes projects at all buildings that focus on 21st century learning environments, infrastructure, safety, security, and site work. 

2. How was the plan developed?

 

  • The process originated with a list of priorities created by the school district based on specific and urgent facility, site and program needs. 

  • Our construction manager, R.C. Hendrick and Son, and architect, TowerPinkster, developed a comprehensive Construction Needs Assessment in order to verify previously identified needs, address any additional facility, infrastructure and program needs, and provide cost estimates for the work. 

  • We then formed a committee of community members who prioritized our needs to determine what should be included in the plan.

  • The Board of Education voted to support moving forward with an August 3, 2021 bond election in the amount of $25,000,000.

 

3. What are the features of the August 3, 2021 bond proposal?

 

  • Security and Safety

-Upgrade security cameras

-Add cameras to busses

-Add crosswalk at Shields

-Add fencing

 

  • Energy & Operational Efficiency

-Lighting at buildings to LED

-Replace boilers and select roofs

-Replace damaged/deteriorated brick exterior

 

  • Infrastructure

-Renovate restrooms and lockers

-New flooring and painting

-Replace old doors and hardware

 

  • Learning Environments

-New 600 seat auditorium at High School

-Learning Center Expansion and Renovation 

-2 new classrooms at Shields

-4 new classrooms at Havens

- Renovation of the current auditorium into classrooms, restrooms, and storage space

-Upgrade technology infrastructure

 

  • Site Work

-Create walking path along service drive between Middle School and High School

-Replace select parking lots

-Parking lot lighting to LED

-Fencing around playgrounds

 

4. Why is this bond proposal important for Swan Valley School District?

 

In order to protect and maintain the community’s past investments in our school district, the bond program would provide facility improvements that support teaching and learning, improve safety and security, and upgrade operational efficiencies including heating and electrical. It is the intent of the District and the Board of Education to maintain quality programs and facilities in order to attract families to the area and retain students.

 

5. If the bond proposal is approved, what are the next steps?

 

If approved by the voters on August 3rd, detailed design and implementation of the projects would take place following Election Day. Planning and design would take place following the bond vote, with involvement by school personnel and the planning committee. Construction would begin after design is finalized and bids are received.


 

6. What is the plan to keep facility improvement disruptions to a minimum?

 

Work at our school would be scheduled so it does not interfere with day-to-day operations or community safety. The majority of construction work will be completed during the summer months. When ongoing work occurs during school days, there will be a clear separation between construction and school operations. Safety is paramount and would be the key factor in determining the construction sequencing.

 

7. What are the reasons for a new auditorium?

 

The Swan Valley High School auditorium is original to the construction of the school; 50 years old.  It has had minor renovations over the years that have made it adequate for district and community use.  However, our fine arts programs have become very successful over the years causing the stage size and the seating capacity to be inferior.  There are also infrastructure issues that require extensive repair (i.e lighting, sound, acoustics, safe egresses etc ) and the facility is too old to justify that amount of expense.  In addition:

  • current overcrowding during school and community events is a safety concern

  • the current auditorium lacks many features which will be potentially included in the new facility (i.e adequate storage, construction area, dressing rooms, restrooms, “fly” for scenery, orchestra pit, catwalk and tension grids etc)

  • long term vision to increase fine arts to all grade levels and providing spaces suitable for performances of all ages

FINANCIAL AND ELECTION INFORMATION


 

1. What is the estimated cost of the bond project?

 

The bond proposal is $25,000,000. Currently SVSD levies 7 debt mills. This bond will maintain that same levy and is NOT expected to increase taxes.

 

2. How much would the proposal cost the average taxpayer?

 

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2021, is 2.30 mills ($2.30 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a -0- mill net increase over the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty (20) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.77 mills ($3.77 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).


3. Can I deduct these property taxes on my income tax return?

 

Property taxes may be deductible as itemized deductions on your federal income tax return if you itemize. You may also be eligible for the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit on your Michigan income tax return. Please consult with your tax preparer.

4. I understand that school districts have received federal funds due to the pandemic.  Can these funds be used for items listed on the bond project? 

 

Schools all over Michigan are receiving federal funding that has limited use to help fight Covid-19.  Funds required for bond projects significantly exceed allowable ESSER funds.  If you would like to see those allowable uses, visit the following link: https://bit.ly/3wfLeso 

5. Please explain what bond program money can cover and what it can’t.

 

Bond proceeds cannot be used for the following items:

  • Salaries and wages

  • General operating expenses and maintenance

  • Classroom supplies and textbooks

 

Bond proceeds can be used for the following items:

  • Construction and remodeling of facilities

  • Purchase of technology equipment

  • Equipment and furniture

  • Site improvements

  • Bus purchases

 

6. What are the key dates leading up to the August 3rd vote?

 

Final day to register to vote: The last day to register to vote by mail is Monday, July 19, 2021.  Voters may register in person through Tuesday August 3, 2021 (election day) with the required documentation. 

 

Final day to vote absentee:  Absentee ballots will be available on or before June 19th and can be submitted up until the last Saturday or Sunday prior to the election (7/31 or 8/1) or in person on the day of the election.  

 

Election Day: August 3, 2021  Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. 

 

7. Do I qualify to vote and where do I register?

 

To vote in the August 3, 2021 school election, you must be a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years of age by Election Day; a resident of Michigan and the Swan Valley School District.  You also must be registered to vote by July 19th (via mail) or in person on the day of the election. Please contact the Township clerk for voting precinct locations.  The township clerk office information is as follows:

  • Thomas Township, 249 N. Miller Rd 781-0150

  • James Township, 6060 Swan Creek Rd 781-1353

  • Swan Creek Township, 11415 Lakefield, St. Charles 865-6251

 

8. What is the procedure for absentee voting?

 

Applications for absentee ballots are available:

 

Note: Once election ballots are available in the clerk’s office, you can walk into your clerk’s office, receive an absentee application, fill it out, and immediately be given your ballot to cast your vote.

 

9. How will the bond appear on the ballot?

 

Bonding Proposal

Shall Swan Valley School District, Saginaw County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Twenty-Five Million Dollars ($25,000,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefore, in one or more series, for the purpose of:

 

erecting, furnishing, and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, equipping and re-equipping, and furnishing and refurnishing school buildings; acquiring, installing, equipping and re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; purchasing school buses; erecting, furnishing, and equipping athletic and other structures; and acquiring, preparing, developing, and improving sites? 

 

The following is for informational purposes only:

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2021, is 2.30 mills ($2.30 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a -0- mill net increase over the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty (20) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.77 mills ($3.77 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation). 

 

The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds. The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $10,135,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $-0-. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances. 

 

(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.)

 

10. Who may I contact if I have additional questions?

 

You are welcome to call or email:

 

Mat McRae

Superintendent 

mmcrae@swanvalley.k21.mi.us

Phone: 989-921-3701

 

Swan Valley Community Committee Co-chairs:

Becky Benzenberg benezenbergb@gmail.com 

Jody Komyathy jkomyathy@yahoo.com 

Jennifer Stephens brijenstephens@gmail.com