Bill Holt’s deceiving $51 million savings in the LOCS Bond Proposal

Editor’s Note: Supt. Ginopolis’ guest column is also in the Oct. 3, 2018 print edition of The Lake Orion Review.

By Superintendent Marion Ginopolis

In an interview with the Lake Orion Review, published on Sept. 26, 2018, Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education Trustee Bill Holt indicated that he objects to three projects in the Lake Orion Community Schools bond proposal, and doesn’t want “to waste $51 million.”

He indicates he would vote to support the bond if three projects were eliminated: rebuilding Blanche Sims Elementary school, building a replacement Early Childhood Center and demolishing a portion of CERC. His intentional deception: That these moves would reduce the bond proposal by $51 million.

Let me help Mr. Holt with his math…

Blanche Sims Elementary School

Mr. Holt states that the school district is wasting $26 million to build a new Blanche Sims. What he neglects to mention is that the cost to renovate the current Blanche Sims facility is $20.8 million. So, the decision – made by the full board at meetings he attended – wasn’t whether to save $26 million by not building a new Blanche Sims. The actual decision was between two items: 1) Whether to ask taxpayers to invest $20.8 million in a 70-year old building that needs major improvements and replacement of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems or 2) to invest an additional $5.2 million to build a state-of-the-art school to meet the educational needs of our students for their future. Difference: $5.2 million; not $26 million.

Early Childhood Center and CERC

Mr. Holt states that the district is wasting $17.9 million to build an Early Childhood Center for our young learners. Again, Mr. Holt intentionally and willfully neglects to identify that renovating the CERC facility to accommodate early childhood programs would be $11.6 million. So, the decision wasn’t whether to save $17.9 million and not build an Early Childhood Center. The decision was whether to ask taxpayers 1) to invest $11.6 million in a 62-year old building that needs major improvements and replacement of major systems or 2) to build a more efficient facility at the cost of $17.9 million. Difference: $6.3 million; not $17.9 million.

Mr. Holt also consciously avoids telling you that these programs are self-supporting and bring in revenue to the district. Additionally, we are required by law to provide federally funded early childhood programs for special education students, Head Start, Early Head Start and Great Start Readiness, making the elimination of early childhood programs impossible.

The bond proposal is to relocate these required programs along with fee-based pre-school and day-care programs to a new facility, increasing capacity by 31.25 percent. This will provide an appropriate environment for young learners, plus it will bring in additional revenue to the district keeping LOCS competitive with neighboring districts that have, or are currently building, similar bond funded facilities for their programs. (Clarkston, Rochester, Troy…)

He doesn’t want to waste $7.6 million to demolish a portion of CERC. Again, despite discussions at board meetings he attended and reviewed plans, he fails to tell you that this amount is to demolish AND renovate the portion of the CERC facility that is in critical disrepair yet still currently contains the Learning Options High School.

Mr. Holt deceptively tells you that if these projects were eliminated, the bond proposal would be $51 million less. But he fails to inform you that there would still be $32.4 million in costs to renovate the current Blanche Sims Elementary School and the CERC facility for early childhood programs. Recovering $7.6 million by not demolishing/renovating the portion of CERC for the Learning Options High School would then bring the bond proposal savings to $11 million; not $51 million.

Please know the real facts before you go to the polls to vote on Nov. 6.

The district Website contains numerous documents and presentations that provide transparent and accurate information about the Bond proposal: www.lakeorionschools.org or email your questions to Communications@lok12.org.

 

5 Responses to "Bill Holt’s deceiving $51 million savings in the LOCS Bond Proposal"

  1. Raymond D. Hammond   October 4, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Ms. Ginopolis still fails to address the alternative spend remains discretionary. The list of projects included in the bond proposal remain subjective at best. She also fails to address the misleading nature of the mailing sent to Lake Orion voters promoting the bond proposal. No New Taxes is the theme of the school board yet these are clearly new taxes and new debt.

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  2. Karl Plattenberger   October 4, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    In looking at Mr. Holt’s assessment I agree that the plan to carry forward with the over capacity is not a great plan. I also disagree that eliminating it will generate the calculated savings. The plan is based on estimates not actual bids, or quotes so when the time comes some of those projects will be sacrificed to pay for the high priority items.

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  3. Paul Smielewski   October 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    I have to ask… knowing the age of Blanche Sims Elementary, that it would require renovation or replacement in the near future, why was it never considered for closure? Only Pine Tree and Webber were ever mentioned, when it came time to cut back to six elementary schools. Did you and the board ever figure the age and condition of the schools into the formula? Apparently not, so I must ask, why not?

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  4. Marion Ginopolis   October 11, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Mr. Smielewski, first, thank you for asking these questions for clarification. The district and outside firm did an assessment of all facilities before identifying Pine Tree Elementary School for closure, which has been repurposed to a county-wide facility for students with special needs. All schools were considered and the decision of which school would be best to close was based on a number of factors including location of facility and proximity to other elementary schools, number of resident student population who would be attending in the area of each facility, condition and size of each facility for any potential growth. With Blanche Sims as the only elementary school in the Village of Orion, it was not identified to close. Feel free to contact me directly if you have other questions…248-693-5414 or marion.ginopolis@lok12.org

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  5. Jake Singer   October 14, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Mr. Holt is perpetuating myths. The district is currently utilizing all the classrooms in our elementary buildings. The reconstruction of Blanche Sims is not designed to add more classrooms. It brings the learning spaces for those students in line with those available to the students at the other LOCS elementary buildings. LOCS is only losing enrollment because more 12th graders graduate each spring when compared to the number of kindergarten students who “replace” them the following school year. The enrollment of new kindergarten students has been slowly increasing and local birth rates indicate that it will continue to slowly rise. An elementary school has already been closed because we no longer need as many elementary classrooms as we did when today’s larger class sizes of high schoolers were going through their K-5 years. Omitting these nuances is an attempt to mislead.

    When the Board discussed closing an elementary school and shifting to an all neighborhood school format, they stated there was a commitment to retain a school location that served the residents of the northeast corner of the district. Closing Blanche Sims and leaving that portion of the district without an elementary school in the area would not have been fair to those residents or their property values. The vast majority of Blanche Sims students live north and/or east of the school’s location, so Blanche Sims was by far the best located of the seven buildings to serve as a neighborhood school for those residents. It is a school in the Village of Lake Orion, but it is most definitely not set up to be the school for village residents since many village residents are in the Orion Oaks or Paint Creek attendance areas.

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