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.