Shelby school district seeks voter support for $20 million project.

April 26, 2017

shelby high schoolShelby school district seeks voter support for $20 million project.

Election is Tuesday, May 2.

#OceanaCountyNews #ShelbyPublicSchools

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

SHELBY — After the Shelby Public Schools’ bond election failed last August by just over 200 votes, Superintendent Dan Bauer and the board of education decided to ask the voters to support a “community-driven” project this May.

shelby school bond 3The $20 million project, which includes two proposals, locates all grade levels on one campus and funds construction of a new multi-purpose gym. The two proposals will be the only proposals for voters to consider on the May 2 ballot.

The current high school will become a middle/high school for grades 7-12, and the middle school building would become the elementary school for grades K-6. Thomas Read Elementary School would then serve solely as the early childhood center. The New Era Elementary School would be closed.

shelby school bond - 2“The community would rather see the seventh and eighth grades at the high school than the fifth grade at the middle school,” Bauer said.

Proposal 1 is has an estimated millage increase of 1.90 mills, which totals $17,115,000 and Proposal 2 is has an estimated millage increase of 0.40 mills that would generate $2,860,000.

Taxpayers would pay for the bonds for 25 years. The total 2.30 mills would cost a homeowner with a home market value of $100,000 an additional $115 per year, which is $9.58 per month.

shelby schools bond -1Proposal 2 seeks a new multipurpose gym at the high school, and Proposal 1 includes all of the other components of the project. The new gym would provide a much-needed place for wrestlers to practice, space for added seventh and eighth grade physical education classes, as well as space for community events.

Proposal 1 includes:

• Making the high school a middle/high school for grades 7-12, which includes new construction and remodeling. Adding a seventh/eighth grade wing and the multipurpose gym are key components.

• Making the middle school an elementary school, which includes new construction and remodeling.

One of several cracks in the high school track that poses a danger to athletes. - Contributed photo

One of several cracks in the high school track that poses a danger to athletes.
– Contributed photo

• Keeping the early childhood center and gym at Thomas Read Elementary School and demolishing the back wing of the building, which was constructed in 1955.

An exterior door at the high school in need of replacement. - Contributed photo

An exterior door at the high school in need of replacement.
– Contributed photo

• Closing New Era Elementary School building, which was built in the early 1960s, and selling it or transferring it to a community organization.

• Replacing the high school roof; rebuilding the track; upgrading district technology and furniture; and installing secure entrances.

Shelby Public Schools Superintendent Dan Bauer

Shelby Public Schools Superintendent Dan Bauer

“We decided the community needs to drive this next proposal,” said Bauer. “The board of education felt strongly that we needed to get input from the community before we asked voters to support another building improvement millage. We sought out people who didn’t support the bond (last August).”

“A committee of community members including parents, business owners, professionals, farmers and retired individuals was formed to develop a plan for the future of Shelby Public Schools facilities,” states the district’s proposal literature. “Meetings were held in September, October and November to gather input and discuss options. We spent a great deal of time listening to the community members through the process. The final plan addressed most all issues we have been struggling with as a district. This proposal will ‘right size’ the district and bring all children to ‘one campus.’”

The project focuses on securing all building entrances and provides video surveillance in all buildings. Technology will be greatly improved throughout the district with a 1-to-1 ratio for student devices; new computer labs, new classroom technology; wireless access points; and upgrades to district servers and network infrastructure. Improvements will also increase efficiency; reduce building transitions; and maximize instructional time, according to the district’s proposal brochure.

The middle school was constructed in 1967, Bauer said, and the high school was built in 1997. Currently, the middle and high school buildings are not being used to their full potential as several classrooms, particularly at the middle school, are not regularly used, the superintendent said. Whereas, New Era and Thomas Read elementary buildings are “packed.”

By centralizing everything on one campus, fourth and fifth grade students attending New Era students will benefit from an additional 20 minutes of instructional time per day, Bauer said. Currently, due to transporting students to various buildings, they are missing out on precious instructional time, he said.

The project will eliminate the movement of seventh and eighth graders between buildings for algebra, art, and band classes, which is a major safety issue, Bauer said.

Closing New Era Elementary will generate a savings of $42,000 annually just in utility costs, Bauer said.

Voting will take place Tuesday, May 2, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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