Illustration by Joshua Blatt
GL Board of Education Introduces Two New Bond Proposals
Illustration by Josh Blatt/The Comets Tale
A common complaint throughout Grand Ledge High School is that it is either super hot or freezing cold; there is no in-between. In a few years, the school might finally be a comfortable temperature. Two new voting opportunities have arose on the municipal election for the Nov. ballot. The Grand Ledge Board of Education turned to community and family members in the district to seek ideas on how to improve Grand Ledge Public Schools. With community input and the use of surveys, the Board of Education created two bond proposals that will be featured on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot. Proposal One focuses on improving the infrastructure, security and academic success of the schools.
“The first bond is designed to be smarter, stronger, and safer,” Dr. Brian Metcalf, the GLPS Superintendent said. “It is really looking at redesigning and restructuring the district into K-4 schools, with a 5-6 building at Hayes, a 7-8 building at Beagle, and then obviously 9-12 here at the high school.”
With this proposal, the district would include four lower elementary schools, as well as two seperate buildings, one for grades 5-6 and one for grades 7-8.
Not only does bond one restructure the grade levels, it also improves the overall functionality of the schools by means of maintenance and security, as well as increasing academic opportunities throughout the district.
“Bond one provides some additional Advanced Placement classrooms, and gifted and talented classrooms across 5-8 grades,” Metcalf said. “Stronger in regards to the infrastructure; heating and cooling at the high school, new parking lot around the high school and new roofing. And then safer by redesigning entrances so that when you enter the school, you are greeted by someone immediately. Our goal is to make it a little safer for our staff and students.”
One example of entrance security is the GLHS main entrance. The first bond hopes to combine the main office and main entrance so students, teachers, and visitors enter the main office, rather than a hallway.
The second bond focuses more on the athletic, fine arts, and community aspect of our district. Proposal two would provide funds for the athletic and fine arts programs, as well as design improvements for more community and district use.
“Bond two is really focused on community, athletics and fine arts,” Metcalf said. “This bond will build a new pool that will be a competition pool so we can actually hold competitions, a community pool that will be in connection with that so the community can come in and swim in a comfortable pool, and also increase the fine arts entrance so we have a better area there.”
Not only would there be a reconstructed pool, but they would add a new weight room and an indoor track. Many aspects of the second bond are aimed towards more community use and involvement.
“Once the work is done, classrooms will be a lot more comfortable for students and staff,” Metcalf said.
The proposals include a plan on renovating the heating and cooling system to easily maintain and control the high school’s temperature.
There have been many bond proposals in the past, but only one out of the past six bonds have been passed. The Board of Education is hopeful that these two new proposals will attract the liking of the community.
“The people told us what they wanted,” Metcalf said. “It was the community and the parents that designed this, not us,” Metcalf said. “They wanted one that had the needs, and one that had the wants. Hopefully both will pass, but regardless number one is the one that will really help us move forward.”
If the bonds pass, the Board of Education hopes to start this ten year project as early as spring 2019.
“We would start to go out for phase one of the bonds next spring, and then next summer the work would begin,” Dr. Metcalf said. “But it is really about a ten year project, so it is going to take some time.”
GLPS has the lowest debt tax millage rates in the region at just 4.19. If both proposals passed, we would surpass Lansing Public Schools and East Lansing Public Schools, at a rate of 5.63. Basically, this means that Grand Ledge Public Schools has one of the lowest tax rates in comparison to other districts. Although the proposals would increase the district’s tax millage, the debt tax rate is still one of the lowest paying districts.
“I think people are going to look at it and think it is a pretty reasonable request,” Metcalf said. “Even if we pass both [bond] one and two, we’d still be only the third lowest in regards to tax base.”
Voting opens to the public on Nov. 6, 2018. For more information about the new bond proposals, visit www.glcomets.net, or pick up a copy of the GLPS Insider and visit pages four and five to see a note from our Superintendent. Remember to remind parents and adults to go to the Secretary of State and vote!
***UPDATE: The Comets’ Tale has published a follow-up article. To read, here