2021 Bond

 

OUR STUDENTS | OUR COMMUNITY | OUR FUTURE

ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE

Why is the District proposing this bond?

The Oak Park School District prides itself on cultivating visionary leaders and compassionate citizens engaged in the global community. In alignment with our vision, we are asking community members to consider a $54.45 million bond to address the CRITICAL NEEDS of our aging facilities at NO CHANGE TO THE CURRENT TAX RATE. This means that the 5.98 mills the district is currently levying is not expected to change.

The proposed funding would allow the district to make critical replacements and upgrades to infrastructure, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and technology equipment. With favorable tax rates and new building improvements required in light of the pandemic, we are asking community members to consider this bond, up for election on May 4, 2021!

What are the main goals of the bond?
 

 | Facilities & Upgrades
Addresses critical facility renovations & improvements; roofs, windows, doors, plumbing and HVAC.

 | Warm, Safe & Dry
Replace outdated infrastructure & protect our District's assets.

 | Technology
Continuing to update technology for today's learning environment.

 | Preserving General Fund Dollars
Protecting our District's assets & switching to energy efficient substitutes. 

What is the breakdown of how money will be spent?

 

The bond proposal seeks to keep general fund dollars focused on the classrooms, while dedicating bond funds to CRITICAL capital needs, such as facility upgrades, technology, mechanical and electrical throughout the District. If approved, the annual debt millage will remain at 5.98. The bond proposal authorizes the issuance of $54.45 million of bonds over 3 series from 2021 through 2027.

18% | Infrastructure 

  • Upgrading athletic & community facilities
  • Removing & replacing damaged roofing, ceilings & flooring
  • Replacing exterior/interior walls, doors & windows

15% | Technology

  • Replacing classroom instructional equipment
  • Replacing student learning devices

35% | Electrical 

  • Replacing lighting with energy efficient substitutes 
  • Upgrading electrical distribution systems

32% | Mechanical (& Plumbing)

  • Replacing outdated equipment to promote healthy learning environments 
  • Installing drinking fountains
  • Upgrading fire safety systems
  • Updating plumbing infrastructure & fixtures


ELECTION DAY: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

2021 Bond Proposal FAQs

Q. What is on the May 4, 2021 ballot?
There is one Oak Park School District bond proposal on the May 4 ballot. The proposal asks voters to consider a $54.45 MILLION BOND PROGRAM to address the critical needs at each of our Oak Park Schools facilities. This program focuses on infrastructure needs as well as improvements to learning environments, technology/electrical upgrades, and athletic and site improvements. The district plans to issue the bond in three separate series over five years. 

Q. Why is the district proposing this bond?
Every year, over 4,000 students call our schools home. As a district, we are dedicated to providing each one of our students with the tools to become passionate learners and leaders in the global community. Our students deserve safe and nurturing learning environments that inspire them to learn and grow. With that being said, our schools are in critical need of upgrades and renovations. After careful and thorough planning, we have identified the most significant needs for our district that we are seeking to address with this ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE bond program.

Q. How has the district decided what to include in the 2021 bond program?
In 2020, the Oak Park School District created a 10-year strategic capital plan to address the needs of our school buildings in alignment with our vision for the future. Included in the capital plan were enrollment projections, facility utilization studies, and facility assessments. We have identified a significant amount of needs to be addressed, and have decided to include the most critical areas in the 2021 bond issue.

Q. How will students and the community benefit?
The bond proposal will benefit students by providing them with safe and functional learning environments. It will also provide technology upgrades and enhance each school building & site. The bond proposal will support the continuation of the district’s long-range facilities plan. This will help assure that we are providing our students with beneficial educational experiences and the schools are upgraded, renovated, and kept in solid condition. All bond proposal projects are designed to maintain the community’s investment in its school district and to reflect positively on homeowner values.

Q. What is the cost of the bond program?
Your current tax rate will not be impacted by this bond program. The 2021 bond proposal is a ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE proposal. This means that the 5.98 mills the District is currently levying per household WILL NOT CHANGE. The bond would allow the District to fund proposed projects while keeping general fund dollars in our classrooms.

Q. How have neighboring districts addressed their school buildings in recent years?
Your current tax rate will not be impacted by this bond program. The 2021 bond proposal is a ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE proposal. This means that the 5.98 mills the District is currently levying per household WILL NOT CHANGE. The bond would allow the District to fund proposed projects while keeping general fund dollars in our classrooms.

Bonds Passed in Last 10 Years in Neighboring Districts

District Amount Year Passed

Ferndale 

$124,800,000

2020

Royal Oak
$59,900,000
2017
Berkley
$58,950,000
2015
Farmington $98,000,000 2020
Warren $134,530,000 2016
Oak Park
$0
--


Q. Economically, is this a good time for a bond program?
The Oak Park School District would be able to meet current and future facility needs at a projected ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE to the current debt millage rate. With historically low interest rates, if the bond is approved by the voters, the District would have to pay a smaller amount of interest to bond holders for the bonds
that it would at another time (should rates hold). The smaller amount of interest to bond holders maximizes taxpayer benefit. The 2021 bond program allows the District to preserve general fund dollars for instruction and classroom needs by providing a dedicated funding source to address facility improvements, program enhancements, athletic and playground improvements, and technology and equipment improvements.

Q. What if the bond does NOT pass? 
Failure to approve the bond proposal will mean the District will have to delay much-needed improvements and enhancements. Emergency improvements will have to be paid for with general operating funds that would otherwise go to support educational programs for students. Additionally, program enhancements would be put on hold, potentially impacting opportunities and programs for our students.

Q. In 2016, the Oak Park community approved a Sinking Fund for the district; How is this different from the 2021 bond proposal?
The sinking fund provides Oak Park schools with a small portion of funds annually to address temporary facility needs. While the district has been able to accomplish a lot with sinking fund dollars, our school building needs are far beyond what we would be able to address with the sinking fund. The 2021 bond program would provide the district with immediate funds to make major critical improvements to each of our school buildings.

Q. When was the last bond for the Oak Park School District?
The last bond program for the Oak Park School District was in 2008. With neighboring districts undertaking significant bond programs in their school systems since then, we believe that the 2021 bond will help keep Oak Park Schools competitive as a destination for student success.

Q. What can proceeds generated by the bond be used for? What can they NOT be used for?
Bond proceeds can be used for the following items:
     a.) Construction and remodeling of facilities
     b.) Purchase of technology equipment and infrastructure
     c.) Purchase of equipment and furniture
     d.) Site improvements
Bond proceeds cannot be used for the following items:
     a.) Staff salaries and wages
     b.) General operating expenses, repairs and maintenance
     c.) Classroom supplies and textbooks
     d.) Administrative costs

Q. Who do I contact if I have additional questions?
For more information, please contact:

Dr. Jamii J. Hitchcock, Superintendent
248-336-7705 or aphillpotts@oakparkschools.org   

Steve Barr, Chief Financial & Operations Officer
248-336-7714 or sbarr@oakparkschools.org 

Q. When and where can I register to vote?
To vote in the May 4, 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 Oak Park School District for at least for at least 30 days (when you vote)
• Registered to vote
• Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison.

You may register to vote online or by mail up until April 19, 2021. From April 20 through May 4, registration will be open in-person ONLY at your local clerk’s office.

Voter registration forms and absentee ballots are available online at www.michigan.gov/sos.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk at 14000 Oak Park Blvd. Oak Park, MI 48237

Ballot Language Breakdown & Description


The District would sell bonds totaling $54.45 million.
Shall the School District of the City of Oak Park, Oakland County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed fifty four million four hundred forty-five thousand dollars ($54,445,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of: 

remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing, and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquiring and installing instructional technology and instructional technology equipment for school buildings; and developing and improving sites? 
 

The following is for informational purposes only:
The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2021, under current law, is 3.58 mills ($3.58 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 thirty (30) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 5.87 mills ($5.87 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

This bond will be a ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE. Bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries, repairs, etc. 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 $3,005,000. 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.)

For questions about the ballot language, please contact Steve Barr, Chief Financial & Operations Officer at 248-336-7714 or sbarr@oakparkschools.org. 

Virtual Bond Information Meetings | Links Coming Soon...
March

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
6:30 p.m. | Evening Community Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83033174842?pwd=NVdIRlVwV1Q3UkhBOFFwQzZLMW02UT09
Meeting ID: 830 3317 4842
Passcode: js69EL

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
6:30 p.m. | Evening Community Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83584806004?pwd=TU9WaSs4SEhxUDRDbGRkWVZZd0Jzdz09
Meeting ID: 835 8480 6004
Passcode: 4jAU8m

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
5:00 p.m. | After-School Community Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85878818007?pwd=WGF0SUJJcTBId0hFTVlxZ25KaXBvQT09
Meeting ID: 858 7881 8007
Passcode: Jg2WS7

April
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
8:30 a.m. | Morning Community Coffee

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85341904412?pwd=Yi80K0NoMVFVYWxQWlFKejlaOUlNUT09
Meeting ID: 853 4190 4412
Passcode: v5Aqz3

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
11:30 a.m. | Community Lunch & Learn 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87292857421?pwd=UER5VlYvajBGeTRDZ1RMcDJnL3Iwdz09
Meeting ID: 872 9285 7421
Passcode: WJ6gMA

Thursday, April 15, 2021
8:00 a.m. | Morning Community Coffee

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89783843314?pwd=M0w1Qk5UaG1LMWMrSmVFNWNDOCtydz09
Meeting ID: 897 8384 3314
Passcode: kb2tJ1

Thursday, April 29, 2021
11:00 a.m. | Community Lunch & Learn 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81830153729?pwd=NEFxdTMzYmZJUG5NbHR0NTBwQ281QT09
Meeting ID: 818 3015 3729
Passcode: 8KSUiM

Q. What are the proposed projects for each school in the bond proposal?

Einstein Elementary
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Air quality upgrades
• Lighting upgrades
• Window replacements
• Audio/visual system upgrades
• Technology infrastructure
• Flooring replacements
• Roof work
• Interior finishes
• Mechanical upgrades
• Electrical upgrades
• Plumbing system upgrades

Key Elementary
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Air quality upgrades
• Lighting upgrades
• Audio/visual system upgrades
• Drinking fountain replacements
• Technology infrastructure
• Flooring replacements
• Roof work
• Interior finishes
• Mechanical and HVAC upgrades
• Electrical upgrades
• Plumbing system upgrades

Pepper Elementary
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Air quality upgrades
• Lighting upgrades
• Window replacements
• Audio/visual system upgrades
• Drinking fountain replacements
• Technology infrastructure
• Flooring replacements
• Roof work
• Interior finishes
• Mechanical and HVAC upgrades
• Electrical upgrades
• Plumbing system upgrades

Lessenger School
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Lighting upgrades
• Gym bleacher replacements
• Fire safety system upgrades
• Flooring replacements
• Technology infrastructure
• Roofing work
• Plumbing upgrades
• Mechanical and HVAC upgrades
• Electrical system upgrades

Q. What are the proposed projects for each school in the bond proposal?

Oak Park Preparatory Academy 
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Air quality upgrades
• Lighting upgrades
• Window replacements
• Audio/visual system upgrades
• Drinking fountain replacements
• Technology infrastructure
• Flooring and ceiling replacements
• Roof work
• Interior finishes
• Mechanical and HVAC upgrades
• Electrical upgrades
• Plumbing system upgrades

Oak Park High School
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Lighting upgrades
• Gym bleacher replacements
• Fire safety system upgrades
• Flooring replacements
• Roofing work
• Plumbing upgrades
• Mechanical and HVAC upgrades
• Electrical system upgrades
• Athletic facility renovations & upgrades

NOVA Academy (OPFI)
• Student/teacher technology devices
• Air quality upgrades
• Lighting upgrades
• Window replacements
• Install handicap accessible ramp
• Audio/visual system upgrades
• Drinking fountain replacements
• Technology infrastructure
• Flooring and ceiling replacements
• Roof work
• Interior finishes
• Mechanical and HVAC upgrades
• Electrical upgrades
• Plumbing system upgrades

2021 Bond Important Dates

 Election Day
May 4, 2021

 Online & Vote by Mail Deadline 
Until April 19, 2021

 Open Registration for In-Person Voting Only
April 20 - May 4, 2021

 Absentee Ballots Available to Voters
March 4, 2021

 

Help Us Spread the Word

 Get & Share the Facts 

 Talk to Neighbors & Community Members

Like & Repost on Social Media

 Put a Sign in Your Yard or Business

 Invite Us to Your Community Meetings