Just say ‘No’ on the bond — send the board back to square 1 for a reasonable bond request

Steven Covey said: “There are three constants in life – change, choice and principles.”

We are constantly in Lake Orion being asked to spend more money on our schools. We simply cannot afford this large of a bond. Right now, we are not getting answers on where the Sinking Fund money is being spent.

In this bond issue, we are not being asked to spend the majority on education, but on buildings, facilities, and spaces. Does Lake Orion High School really need another auxiliary gym with a $4.7 million price tag?

Did you see in the same issue of The Review, in the “Looking Back” section, that three school bond proposals were up for a vote in 1993? The total was $13 million, but it was broken into sections so that voters were able to choose which parts they deemed necessary.

Clearly, something is amiss in the school board’s reasoning on this bond’s asking price.

Regarding the impending bond issue, each voter in this district needs to ask questions long before any changes are made, find the real facts and make wise choices based on current information. The practice of due diligence to this process is crucial.

Bill Holt did an excellent job last week writing about the facts of our declining population, student enrollment declines, and the building use issues that are coming up on the November ballot. He describes why it would be an unwise choice to spend this kind of money when the facts are clear about trends in population.

I personally want to know where the logic is in spending this much money on buildings? Will it change math and science scores, or help with SAT scores? Does the entire school board understand the actual population statistics, or only one member? And to ask a particularly pointed question, who is driving this bus?

We, as a community, just cannot afford this bond. From the last census, the per capita income of Lake Orion is ranked 52nd in the State of Michigan, being $28,671. Rochester’s is $36,989. Bloomfield Hills is ranked 1st, with their per capita being $201,439. In a note of irony, I think that last number is the closest of the three to the salary of Marion Ginopolis as the Superintendent of LOCS.

Since #1 Bloomfield Hills figured out they did not need to add more school buildings, the LOCS Board should go and talk to them and ask many questions. They have a lot more money to spend than we do. They aimed to reduce the tax burden on their community by thinking wisely about funding and consolidating their schools. Why aren’t we?

The re-treaded threats to cut programs like sports and band are veiled threats, and we as a community can see through the scare tactics in this regard. Stop doing that. It doesn’t look good on you.

I think the school board needs a reminder that education is not about buildings. It’s about learning and growing and changing and choices, and learning principles to live life in the best possible way.

You can learn in a tent, at home, surrounded by a tribe of good people, and not spend unwisely. The Internet has changed the face of education permanently.

To find some of these detailed statistics, I went online – www.Oakland.gov has extensive detail. Did the school board do their homework? This current bond issue is a disaster waiting to happen to the good people of Lake Orion.

Just say NO. Send them back to square one to find a reasonable number for the future. It is a matter of change, choice and principle.

Peggy Barry Bartz

Orion Twp. resident

 

6 Responses to "Just say ‘No’ on the bond — send the board back to square 1 for a reasonable bond request"

  1. I care about our schools   October 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Ms. Bartz,

    Curious to understand how the superintendent’s salary has anything to do with your ridiculous assessment about how to educate children and your tirade against the bond other than to just be snarky and mean spirited?

    Reply
  2. Diane Falkowski   October 2, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I would reckon that the per capita income in the 2010 census was greatly affected by the 2008 Great Recession and the exodus of professionals and trades in our community who left Michigan for employment opportunities in other states. Our area is recovering and if we want to continue to attract neighbors whose presence will increase that per capita (by way of their own earnings and by way of creating opportunities for others), I say vote Yes on the bond proposal. Check out the fact sheet at https://www.lakeorionschools.org/uploaded/Lake_Orion/Bond_2018/LOCS_Fact_Sheet_Nov2018_DRAFT_v.11.pdf
    Thanks for considering.

    Reply
  3. Peggy Barry Bartz   October 3, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Dear unsigned person, who must have something to hide,
    It is a fact that her salary (Marion;s) is closer to the Bloomfield Hills per capita income. We all know what the number is, it IS published in the Review when her salary comes up for renewal. Lake Orion is not as wealthy as other communities. Despite what you think, ask the organizations like Blessings in a Back Pack, and LOVE INC, what the stats are. The Methodist Church did a summer lunch drive…the needs exists. Is someone embarrassed because this is an issue, so we want to hide it? I do not have a problem with a school bond proposal. Read that once more. I DO have a problem when the way it is presented makes it appear that it is NOT a TAX increase. The old bond is almost expired. If allowed to expire fully, people would see a smaller tax bill. Fact. IF the bond is only 100 Million, or even 111 Million, people would have LESS tax to pay as the bond matures. This is being presented as a NO TAX increase, when in reality, it is a TAX ON MORE YEARS. Imagine that your mortgage or credit card company calls AFTER you play off your bill totally, and says..hey we are ADDING 20 more years to your bill. You have to pay that amount AGAIN for the next 20 years. A (singular) bond is fine…the schools raise money often with bonds. THIS MUCH bond is only because they are trying to keep the level of spending UP to what it has been during the old bond. And moving a school back or forward on the same piece of property?? What if your spouse wanted to turn the house to face east instead of west just because more sun would shine in better? Would you be OK with that too? It seems the same issue, just a smaller scale. Who did the estimates? How many schools in the state of MI have torn down and rebuilt a school on the same piece of land?

    I think the board is crafting and INVENTING ways to spend $160 Million so they can justify this SIZE of a bond, And, if the buildings are in SUCH bad shape, who was not minding the continuous fund for maintenance of these buildings for the last 50 years? The fact sheet mentioned is only as good as the people who wrote it. Diane, I do have a question for you. I understand your point. Our Rotary Club lost quite a few people to other states in 2009-10. So go find new figures…but we are still not at the top of the heap. But, are we not wanting to attract people who have near median incomes to Lake Orion also? Is there some exclusivity clause I am not aware of? Let me reiterate once more. I have no problem with a school bond. I DO have a problem with the amount.

    Reply
  4. Marion Ginopolis   October 11, 2018 at 4:44 am

    @Ms. Peggy Barry Bartz,

    I appreciate your comments related to the LOCS Bond Proposal that will be on the November 6 ballot. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these with you at your convenience and clarify any concerns you have related to the amount of the Bond Proposal and the rationale behind the projects identified. My direct contact information is: phone: 248-693-5414 or email: marion.ginopolis@lok12.org

    Reply
  5. Jake Singer   October 14, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    The voters of the state of Michigan changed the equation for maintaining buildings with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. The money to operate schools and pay for instructional costs comes from the per-pupil grant sent from Lansing. Local schools cannot raise money locally for operating or instructional costs.

    As part of Proposal A, local school districts were expected to raise funds locally to pay for building and capital needs. Suggesting that there should be “continuous fund for maintenance of these buildings” was indeed tried. The voters abdicated on this responsibility by voting down each bond proposed since 2002. The list of needs has grown incredibly during those years creating the amount now put before voters.

    If the amount of the bond is the issue, this suggests the feeling is that the young students of the northeast portion of the district do not deserve to have similar modern learning spaces that other students in the district have. Webber and Carpenter may be over 60 years old, which is not much younger than Blanche Sims, but anybody who has taken the time to visit those buildings can tell you that they are far more modern than Blanche Sims.

    If the amount of the bond is the issue, this suggests that our youngest students aged 3-5 who are enrolled in our early education program do not deserve to have modern learning spaces. They have been housed in a repurposed high school for far too long. That program serves many of our at risk students who get that programming because of federal mandates. These programs were developed because studies repeatedly show that engaging low income and special education pre-school students provides long term benefits to the students and society. This is not a program specifically designed to compete with private sector pre-schools.

    Finally, if this bond proposal is not successful, we will have to divert per-pupil funding from instruction to building needs. Buildings that are not modern and programming being cut will not make the Lake Orion Schools area attractive to prospective buyers, which hurts our property values. It’s time for Lake Orion to take action now and Vote YES!

    Reply
  6. Ken   October 17, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Peggy- I would like to understand more about how the size of the bond impacts our taxes. You seem to indicate that a smaller bond would keep taxes the same. If so, how does this work? I would like to see some math. Is the tax based on interest rates associated with the old debt versus the interest rate on the new debt? The challenge I have from the bond proposal is that we have to swallow the whole thing as is. I feel each of the major proposed changes needs to be evaluated individually. I would be in favor of a trimmed down proposal where my taxes stay the same. If my taxes go up, I would not be in favor of the bond.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.