Decision Making - to Bond or Not to Bond?

posted Jan 25, 2011, 12:14 PM by Mike Paskewicz   [ updated Jan 25, 2011, 12:19 PM ]

Dear Parents, Community Members, Staff, & Students,

 

Last month’s Northview News column referenced our core value “We believe people working together toward common goals can accomplish anything” as it related to budget planning and development.  My time with you this month includes two examples of this core value in practice.

 

Example 1: Our staff members (teachers, support staff, administrators, central office staff) came together to help address a $2.2 million budget reduction issue this past year.  Part of their contribution included negotiated contracts that called for a freeze on their base pay plus an agreement to pay a portion of their health care benefit cost.  The result was a savings of over $562,000.  Working together we assured that the programs and practices important to student success would stay in place for the 2010/11 school year.

 

Example 2: Our community has historically supported what is needed to help our student be successful.  You have provided thousands of volunteer hours and have supported the needed facility and technology improvements necessary for continued academic growth and social development of our students.  Now we need to work together toward the common goal of determining if there is a need for technology and facility improvements.  We are in the very early stages of this discussion and no decisions have been made regarding the scope or the nature of a potential bond proposal. 

 

Listed below is the process we are following to prepare our Board of Education to make a decision on placing or not placing a bond issue on the November 2011 ballot.  Once again, we are in the very early stages of discussion and the following points of consideration are a calendar of the "things" that have happened or will be happening before our Board can make a decision.

  • In 2009 an architect firm and a construction management firm prepared a report outlining the facility needs of the school district.  A change in leadership in Northview caused the plans to be placed on hold; however, since that time, two years of building and site millage funds have been used to complete some of the facility projects that were identified by the two firms.
  • May 20, 2010: Childs Consulting Associates submitted the results of the "technology audit" conducted over the three previous months.  This audit clearly outlines Northview’s gaps in technology and establishes a cost of the upgrades.
  • Fall 2010: The same architect and construction management firms (who worked with the district in 2009) conducted a review of the facilities and updated their 2009 reports.
  • October 2010: Informal discussions were held about the possible need for a technology and facility bond. 
  • November 2 and 4, 2010:  The Superintendent conducted two Building Bond Discussion groups with members of the community.  Approximately 30 people participated and answered the following questions:
    • What is the perceived need for a bond proposal for technology and facilities?
    • What is the perceived willingness of the voters to support a tax increase or a bond proposal?

The comments during the meetings ranged from "our buildings and technology are just fine" to" we need to build new schools and update all technology."  The common theme in both meetings was "demonstrate the need and our community will be supportive."  The two groups of community members were asked to begin speaking to their "circles of influence" to help collect information for the Board of Education.

  • December 13, 2010: The Board of Education had a formal discussion about a potential bond for November 2011.  The Board discussed the following questions:
    • Under what conditions would you approve the placement of a bond proposal on the November 2011 ballot?
    • What evidence do you need to be assured there is a "need for technology and facility/site improvements?"
    • Is there anything that would cause you to refuse approving the placement of a bond proposal on the ballot?
  • January 2011: We will finalize the selection of an architect firm and a construction management firm to complete a proposal that is specific to projects at specific schools and to identify cost.
  • January 26 and 27, 2011: We will meet with staff to gather information regarding “needs” in the area of technology and facilities from the staff point of view.
  • February, March, and April 2011:  We will conduct three community meetings to collect information regarding the "needs" in the area of technology and facilities from the parent/community member perspective.  The first meeting for the community is scheduled for Wednesday, February 9, 2011 in the High School Media Center at 7:00 p.m.  Additional meetings are scheduled for March 16 and April 19.  Since the process builds upon the information gathered at each meeting, you should try and attend all three meetings.  Minutes of the meetings will also be posted on our web site www.nvps.net   Feel free to send comments and questions directly to me at mpaskewicz@nvps.net if you are unable to attend the meetings.
  • May 2011:  Our goal is to have a formal bond proposal for our Board of Education to review.  I anticipate that the Board would make a final decision regarding a technology and facilities bond proposal no later than the end of August 2011.

I look forward to meeting with you, our parents and our community members, to gather your perspective as we collect information to determine if there is a need to bond for improvements to our technology and facilities/sites.  Your help in this important decision is needed and valued.  As always feel free to contact me directly at mpaskewicz@nvps.net  or 363-6861, if you have additional comments or questions.

 

Sincerely and With Great Respect,

 

Mike

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