Archive - Apr 2008

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April 30th

Economy to have impact on bond proposals

Historically, passing bond issues for the Tecumseh Public Schools has been a tough sell. In 1998, great lengths were taken to get a $33 million bond approved for a new high school, which passed 2005 to 1,763. Proponents were expecting a better margin.

Three other proposals on the ballot failed. One to renovate the high school for use as the new middle school; a second to renovate all elementary buildings; and third to make additional improvements to the elementary schools.

It took a huge campaign to win the first proposal, and it also took a decent economy to help fuel support. Also, voters had several choices on the ballot.

Jump to the year 2000. The school board came back with a second request to renovate the former high school and all four elementary buildings for a bond proposal of $28 million. The bond passed narrowly 1,830 to 1,676.

The schools have received great district support in the past 10 years with $61 million in building a new high school, and additions built at all of the elementary schools. The schools waged a strong campaign focused on needs. We should be proud of our facilities.

To the Editor,

The May sixth election day is rapidly approaching. In the past several weeks there has been much discussion, both verbal and written, concerning the School Bond issues. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, however, I feel some are acting on limited information rather than on the factual issues.

First, let me identify myself. My wife and I are both in our 80s and have been residents of Tecumseh for over 30 years. We have neither children nor grandchildren in the school system, although our youngest graduated from THS (Class of ’78). Like many seniors, we have no direct connection with the school system.

Both my wife and I come from families that have always supported their schools. Our grandparents and parents always thought that our children are our greatest asset, both for the families and for the community. Like our homes, schools require constant updating and improvements.

Many feel that the “timing” is wrong, and want to delay any project. History tells us that just a few years ago, we went to the polls to vote on a new High School to be located at the corner of Highway 50 and Rogers Highway. The cost was to be around twelve million and half of that was to be donated by a generous individual. For those of you who didn’t live here then…IT WAS VOTED DOWN. Some ten years later we did build the new High School at a cost of some Thirty-Three million without the outside help. From a financial standpoint, it is better to proceed now before costs increase once again.

To the Editor,

As most of us know in the Tecumseh School District, voters will be asked next month to vote on two new Bond Proposals. The proceeds of these bonds will be used to finance improvements to the Tecumseh School facilities that we are told are “needed” to stay competitive.

Most of us reading the “Letters to the Editor” on issues such as this have already made up our minds one way or the other on how we will vote and will read this letter simply for the entertainment factor most letters provide. However, we hope that this letter will be neither entertaining, nor the source of endless debate back and forth in future published Letters to the Editor. Rather, the purpose of this letter is to provide some information on how the bond is being financed and eventually paid in full.

The School District has prominently stated in all of its materials that “If approved, the proposals will not increase a taxpayer’s current millage rate.” While this is true, it is also the part of the program that gives us the most concern because it fails to show a complete picture of what is actually happening in terms of the increase in the amount of total tax dollars we will pay should the new bonds pass.

The outstanding debt on the current bonds for our new High School and subsequent renovations to other buildings in the District is approximately $49.8 Million Dollars. The taxes currently being assessed to each taxpayer in the Tecumseh School District for this debt is 7.2 mills and that number stays constant through the Year 2015. The mill rate will be reduced in 2016, and the debt will finally be paid off by 2031.

To the Editor,

Myrna and I are in favor of the recommendations of the Tecumseh School Board and administration. The method of extending the present millage without an increase seems very workable and interest rates for bonding are very favorable.

We have been property owners in the Tecumseh School district for 55 years and have been active in the community throughout our lives. We have always supported the school leadership as they are charged to make the best decisions possible for the school and the community. We believe they have done everything possible to back up their recommendations.

A key to a great community is its school system. Please help keep it that way.

Merlyn Downing

To the Editor,

Please allow us to put forth our views on the merits of passing the proposed Tecumseh School District bond proposals on May 6th, 2008.  We have long been supporters of the school district and feel that it is extremely important to continue that support even in these most difficult economic times.  

We are keenly aware of the difficulties that come with the current Michigan economy.  Many would argue that this is no time to be making improvements to our schools, but we believe that the investment today will pay dividends in the future.  

Our community, like many in Michigan, is faced with declining employment and under utilized manufacturing facilities.  We need to work together to replace what is lost.  As we work at bringing potential investors into our community we need to be able to say to those prospective employers that this is a community that looks to the future.  When companies look to locate in a given area, their most basic need is to be able to ensure that they have an educated work force. To that end, we need to build a public school system that can produce the kind of graduates that will be able to meet the needs of these employers.

We believe that improved facilities will be a key to creating an educated workforce and a school system that will attract the families of those who would move here after having made the decision to bring their company to our community.

Harvey and Pat Schmidt

To the Editor,

Administrators at Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS) continue to amaze me. In these days, when the headline stories are foreclosures, unemployment and the slumping economy, TPS asks for $37 million more. I am glad to read so many in the community are questioning the most recent proposals. One item conspicuously absent from the fancy brochure is the expiration or retirement date. It must be extended to 2040 or something close to that year. 2040!? I sent an email to the Superintendent but have had no reply. We often hear politicians blaming other politicians about “borrowing from our children’s future”. Now TPS does the same.

I wonder how TPS will take care of the new facilities IF the voters approve this laundry list of WISHES (not needs). The maintenance staff is already stretched thin. TPS expects the impossible from a few people. Won’t extra staff be necessary to groom the new ball fields and clean additions of building space?

TPS must think that the citizens and taxpayers of this district are the next best thing to a magic genie in a bottle. TPS asked for Wish #1: a brand new $40 million high school. GRANTED! Wish #2: remodeling, additions to school buildings, etc. GRANTED! Wish #3: more remodeling, more additions (even to the NEW high school building), ball fields, practice fields, landscaping, etc., ad nauseam.

Will the voters grant this 3rd wish of TPS?? This is one voter that will say “No!”

Mary Keefer

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