By Megan Kelley
The Lake Orion Community Schools 2018 bond has been a very prominent topic in this district for some time now.
The bond proposal is for $160 million and has been avidly promoted with a “no expected tax rate increase” which would keep the millage at 7.491 mils, by keeping the current millage for several more years past the expected rate drop.
LOCS has been vocal about cuts that could happen in the district should this bond not pass.
The district has stated that there are still needs that must be met regardless of a bond.
“There are some critical improvements that must be made to the district facilities for safety/security, technology infrastructure, and operational systems,” said Superintendent Marion Ginopolis in her Oct. 10 blog post on the district website titled, “What if…?”
With a failed bond, the district would be unable to make all of the improvements that are listed in the bond but the district would have to find money elsewhere to fund these “critical improvements,” Ginopolis has outlined.
Though there are a few different options, the board has been stressing district-wide program cuts.
“Some examples of these include administrators/teachers/support staff, increased class size and split classes, reductions in special classes, art, music, physical education, band/co-curricular/extra-curricular, athletic offerings, elimination of the middle school teaming concept and high school block schedule,” said Ginopolis in her blog post.
The idea of program cuts had previously been broached by district officials. Discussions of the “what if” scenario were brought up in the Sept. 12 board workshop, coming off of a presentation to GOGOP the night before.
The majority of board members agreed that at the current state of the district, upon a failed bond, it was to a point that they would have to cut programs.
It was then when the list of potential at-risk programs was produced.
At this point, the board as a whole was unsure what amount of savings/revenue these cuts would create.
Upon departing the workshop, the board requested that Ginopolis get the estimated savings/revenue numbers of all the programs the board had discussed as possible cuts.
Soon after these numbers were given to the board they appeared in the school’s Bond Information PowerPoint on the district website and looked something like this:
Proposed potential cuts and estimated savings/revenue:
Middle School Concept (Team Teaching): $948,000
High School Block Schedule: $474,000
Increased Class Size/Split Classes: $474,000
Operational Reductions: $2 million
Reduce/Eliminate Elementary Specials: $237,000
Reduce Sports: $200,000
Eliminate Elementary Science Plus Program: $316,000
Administration Restructuring: $500,000
Eliminate Support Staff: $250,000
Re-task Fiscal Year Sinking Fund Revenue: $3.6 million
While this amount of money could help with some of the proposed items in the bond it certainly would not be able to do everything the district has planned.
Another option would be for the board to go back to square one and work out another, lesser, bond proposal to put before voters. But when asked if, upon a bond failure, the board would do so, Ginopolis said, “that is a decision the board would have to make.”
Superintendent Ginopolis’ blog post can be found at www.lakeorionschools.org/default-post-page/~board/superintendents-blog/post/what-if and the district’s full bond PowerPoint presentation can be found at LOCSBond.org under the “Presentation Powerpoint” tab.
Editor’s Note: In order to be consistent with our election letters policy in the print edition, we will not be allowing any online comments related to the Nov. 6 general election. Per our policy, we did not publish any election-related letters after the Oct. 24 edition. Given this, it would not be fair or ethical to allow people to circumvent this policy by posting election-related comments online. Thank you for understanding.