What was on the November 5, 2019 ballot?
On November 5, 2019, voters in the Ann Arbor Public School District were asked to consider a bond proposal to upgrade school facilities and sites, enhance existing building security, and provide upgraded and sustainable learning environments throughout our district. The bond program scope is based on a comprehensive facilities assessment conducted by independent architects and engineers to assess the improvements necessary to achieve the district’s goals and to keep our facilities in at least good condition.
The bond proposal includes:
- safety and security improvements
- improvements to classrooms, laboratories, kitchens, performing and fine arts and pool facilities
- solar, geothermal and other renewable energy improvements
- furnishings and equipment
- school buses and musical instruments
- instructional technology equipment
- site upgrades, including school gardens, athletic fields, athletic support facilities, playgrounds and parking
What are the key areas of focus in this bond proposal?
The goals to prepare AAPS for current and future generations fall into four areas:
- Teaching and Learning
- Safety, Health and Well-Being
- Sustainable and Environmentally Responsible Infrastructure
- Efficient and Effective Support Systems and Services
All of these items will be delivered with the goal of providing equity across the district. Detailed areas of focus, including key thematic goals and the infrastructure determined necessary to meet those goals are outlined in this document.
How was this plan developed?
- We understand that the Ann Arbor Public Schools community values a quality education for every child. To deliver that quality education, our goal is to provide a building environment that directly supports student achievement and the core mission of the district.
- The average age of the Ann Arbor Public School buildings is 63 years old with an average built year of 1956.
- Due to aging school buildings, a life cycle Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) was conducted by a professional architectural/engineering firm in 2017-2018 of every AAPS school.
- The FCA included the following components:
- Building Structure – foundation, superstructure and stairwells
- Building Envelope – walls, windows, doors and roof
- Site Improvements – parking lots, walkways, signage, fencing, athletic fields, etc.
- Building Interiors – doors and finishes (floors, paint, cabinets, lockers, etc)
- Building mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire safety (MEPR) Services – water systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems, elevators, fire safety systems, communications systems and security systems
- Equipment and Furnishings – kitchen equipment, pool equipment, scoreboards, theater systems, etc.
- Based on these findings the professional team determined the AAPS facilities are in good to fair condition and have had an adequate level of maintenance over the past few years. However, without substantial additional investment, many of the schools are likely to fall into the “poor” facility rating within a few years.
- Using the Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) a review of possible financial scenarios was conducted between December 2019 and June 2019.
- Matching the facility assessment with the financing options, the professional team, along with the District, determined that getting voter approval of a bond proposal is the preferred approach to finance the growing and long-term facility goals of the District.
- In addition to the FCA recommendations, this bond proposal includes bus purchases, technology, furniture, musical instruments, school gardens, improved kitchens, additions and new schools to meet enrollment growth as well as additional solar power, geothermal and remodeled classrooms to support goals of health and well-being.
- This plan creates upgraded and improved learning environments that support our understanding of the expectations of our community.
What process will be used to engage the school communities in the design elements for the facility upgrades?
Each school community will be engaged in the design process for their school. The chart (below) describes the typical steps in the engagement process.
How are the final designs approved?
As is district policy, the final designs and implementation plans are presented to the Board of Education for approval.
How and when will AAPS report bond project status to the Board and the Community?
AAPS will report to the Board of Education and community on an annual basis. The AAPS and school websites will regularly update information on the district and school-based projects.
What does AAPS and its contractors do to ensure site safety and security?
Once construction contracts are awarded, the district’s bond program manager, project architects and engineers, and construction managers employ a number of construction related safety procedures including:
- Site safety orientations for new trade contractors
- Clear delineation between construction work areas and occupied school areas including fencing, barricades and appropriate signage
- iCHAT State of Michigan background check completed for all on-site contractors
- AAPS Contractor Identification Badges are provided to all on-site contractors and are required to be worn at all times on AAPS property
- Close coordination with school building administration
- Regular site inspections by the bond program management firm and AAPS personnel
How are neighboring districts addressing the aging condition of their school buildings?
Voters in neighboring districts approved bond programs to invest in their aging buildings. Surrounding districts such as Dexter, Saline and Whitmore Lake have all launched voter-supported financing for facility upgrades in recent years. The following chart includes our neighboring districts’ current bond and sinking fund millage rates in comparison to the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
What is the plan to keep facility improvement disruptions to a minimum?
Work at our school facilities will be planned so it minimizes interference with day-to-day operations and pedestrian safety. As the program commences, the construction schedule will be reviewed and coordinated, on a regular basis, with the superintendent and key building leaders. While the summer construction season will be utilized for a majority of the work, if work is ongoing during school days, we will endeavor to have clear, defined separation between construction and ongoing operations through barricades and fencing. Safety is paramount and will be a key factor in determining the construction sequencing. Implementation of the program will take place over a 20-year period and may include relocating schools to another facility in order to complete renovations.
If the voters approve the bonds the district will establish a website with updates on construction sequencing for each school. Additional communication will be made through existing channels such as email, SchoolMessenger, etc.
What are the ages of the buildings in the Ann Arbor Public Schools?
The average age of AAPS buildings is 63 years old. Five AAPS schools are approaching their 100th birthday, constructed in the 1920’s: Angell, Ann Arbor Open, Bach, Burns Park and Community. A2 STEAM (Northside’s original building) and Slauson were added in the 1930’s, and the majority of the schools were built during the postwar years in Ann Arbor spanning the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Most recently, Skyline High School was built in 2008.
School/ Building Name Year Built Bach Elementary 1922 Community High School 1922 Angell Elementary 1923 Burns Park Elementary 1925 Ann Arbor Open 1923 Slauson Middle School 1937 Ann Arbor STEAM 1939 Pittsfield Elementary 1944 Pathways to Success 1949 Eberwhite Elementary 1950 Tappan Middle School 1950 Mitchell Elementary 1951 Freeman Elementary 1952 Carpenter Elementary 1953 Haisley Elementary 1954 Pioneer High School 1956 Dicken Elementary 1957 Pattengill Elementary 1957 Wines Elementary 1960 Forsythe Middle School 1960 Allen Elementary 1961 Lakewood Elementary 1961 Abbot Elementary 1962 Lawton Elementary 1963 Thurston Elementary 1963 Scarlett Middle School 1968 King Elementary 1969 Huron High School 1969 Balas Admin Building 1971 Clague Middle School 1972 Bryant Elementary 1973 Logan Elementary 1977 Transportation 1982 Preschool & Family Ctr 1990 Skyline High School 2008 Average Year Built 1956 Average Age 63
Can money from the bond program be used to pay for salaries and benefits?
No, that is against state law. Bond dollars cannot be used for operation expenses such as employee salaries, repairs, maintenance, or energy costs. Bond program funds must be accounted for separately from general operating funds. Bond funds are also subject to audit.
Please explain what bond program money can cover and what it cannot.
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
What has happened with the Sinking Fund that the voters passed in May 2017? Why isn’t that enough money to fund these infrastructure improvements?
A Sinking Fund is a millage levied in Michigan dedicated to support the repair and construction of school buildings. The Sinking Fund is a pay-as-you-go method for building repairs and projects. The district does not pay interest on the money used. All of the work that is paid by sinking funds must be competitively bid and contracted. None of the sinking funds can be paid to employees. Here are some examples of what the sinking fund can pay for:
- Boilers to heat buildings
- Paving of parking lot
- Building system replacements such as HVAC and plumbing
- Accessibility needs as per the Americans with Disabilities Act
Sinking funds cannot be used to pay for instructional programs or salaries.
Work accomplished with AAPS Sinking Funds from 2017 through summer 2019 includes:
Roofing $ 4,642,000 Paving $ 5,443,000 Additions $10,905,000 Renovations $ 5,173,000 Playgrounds $ 2,746,000 Athletics $ 4,638,000 Water Quality $ 1,200,000 Other Repairs $ 22,404,000 TOTAL $ 57,151,000
School bond proceeds can fund major capital investment in our schools, which we would utilize to support program and curriculum, to prepare for increased enrollment and to provide equity among buildings.
Work accomplished with 2015 Bond Funds through summer 2019 includes:
Replacement of Bus Fleet $10,400,000 New Classroom Furniture $10,900,000 Security and Safety Systems $2,900,000 Musical Instrument Replacement $3,000,000 Performing Arts Facility Needs $450,000 Athletic Fields & Facility Needs $1,000,00 Playgrounds $478,000 Equipment $1,250,000 TOTAL $30,378,000
Who may I contact if I have additional questions?
Please use our contact form to reach out with any questions or comments you have regarding the 2019 Bond.