2022 Bond Proposal

Thank you to the community for your efforts and for voting. Unfortunately, the bond proposal was not approved by voters. Stay tuned as we determine the next steps in planning for the future.

The Board of Education is asking the community to consider a school bond proposal on the May 3, 2022 election ballot. This bond proposal would provide $45,230,000 of funding with an expected net TAX RATE DECREASE of 0.20 mills from the current levy. This bond proposal focuses on the District’s highest priority projects, and concentrates on three key areas: Health & Safety, Improving Learning Environments, and Building & Site Improvements.


How do I learn more about the bond?

Public information forums are being conducted throughout the district. Join Superintendent Linda Van Houten to receive information and answers to your questions about the upcoming GPS Bond Proposal. Click here to download 5 things to know about the bond PDF.


If you have any questions regarding the bond proposal, we encourage you to watch this presentation or contact Superintendent Linda Van Houten at vanhoutl@gpsmi.us, 616.754.3686 or continue exploring this webpage.  

 

Click here to download the ballot language PDF.

Voting Information:

Absentee Voting: 

All registered voters may vote via absentee voter ballot. Ballots available as early as March 19, 2022
External LinkVoter Absentee Information
External LinkAbsent Voter Ballot Application - May 3, 2022 Election

Vote Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 7:00am-8:00pm

Polling Locations: Registered voters may cast a ballot at the polling location established by their city/township.

Additional Voting Information: Visit michigan.gov/vote to view your sample ballot, verify your voter registration, or contact your Local Election Official

What is a bond proposal and how can funds from a bond be spent? 

A bond proposal is how a public school district asks its community for authorization to borrow money to pay for capital expenditures. Voter-approved bond funds can be spent on additions, remodeling, site improvements, athletic facilities, playgrounds, furnishings, equipment, and other capital needs. Funds raised through the sale of bonds cannot be used on operational expenses such as employee salaries and benefits, school supplies, and textbooks. Bond funds must be kept separate from operating funds and must be audited by an independent auditing firm. 

What are the key projects in this bond proposal? 

This bond proposal would address the highest priority projects as determined by the district  and focuses on:

  • Health & safety
    • Air quality improvements, including adding air conditioning at the elementary schools
  • Addressing aging infrastructure
  • Improving educational spaces
    • Adding an Early Childhood & Daycare Center 
    • Career Technical Education (CTE) space & program expansion at the Middle School and High School
    • STEM classroom at each elementary school
    • Educational technology

Why a bond proposal now?

In 2017, voters approved a bond proposal for improvements to safety and security, upgrades to educational technology, and to address the most immediate of identified facility issues. The 2022 bond proposal is planned to address the remaining, currently identified issues over the next six years with an expected net tax rate decrease. While the 2017 bond took care of many critical issues, there are still core infrastructure systems have outlived their expected life cycles, and educational needs such as a great demand for early childhood care and a growing Career Technical Education program need spaces and resources to support the educational needs of our students and community. 

The District continues to do as much preventative maintenance as possible; but we are to the point where systems can no longer be repaired and should be replaced. Specific systems, such as HVAC, select roofing and paving, have exceeded their expected lifecycles. If the bond proposal is approved, it would include replacement of the identified systems and would extend the useful life of our school buildings & sites.

The District is currently in the financial position to ask the community for a bond proposal with an expected net tax rate decrease. 

How would the bond proposal impact my property taxes? 

Greenville Public Schools currently levies 7.2 mills for the debt tax rate. If the bond proposal is approved by voters, the net debt tax rate is expected to decrease by 0.20 mills from the current levy of 7.2 mills. The over debt levy is expected to decrease to 7.0 mills on the tax levy in July 2023 levy.

What does a net tax rate decrease of 0.20 mills actually do to my tax bill?

A 0.20 mill decrease to the debt tax rate is estimated to lower your tax bill by $10.00 for each $100,000 market value of your home.  Example: If you own a home with $100,000 market value (a taxable value of $50,000), your tax bill is estimated to be $10.00 less than the prior year’s tax bill.  

Market Value Taxable Value Savings/Year
$100,000 $50,000 -$10.00
$200,000 $100,000 -$20.00
$300.00 $150,000 -$30.00

 

How would indoor air quality be improved?

Improving air quality can be accomplished by upgrading or replacing parts of mechanical systems to improve ventilation and filtration. Increased ventilation provides more fresh air to indoor spaces. Filtration systems help capture airborne germs. If the bond is approved by voters, the district will work with our architecture & engineering team to determine appropriate solutions that would improve indoor air quality and heating, and add air conditioning where currently lacking at the elementary schools.

Is the bond millage rate expected to be the same for the next 23 years?

No. If the bond is approved by voters on May 3, 2022, the millage rate is estimated to drop in 2023 from 7.2 mills to 7.0 mills, where it is expected to remain through 2030 (or 7 years), thereafter it is estimated to decline due to bond repayment and estimated increases in taxable value.

When would the millage for this proposal first be levied?

On the July 1, 2023 property tax bill.

Would the approval of the bond proposal have any impact on our current operational budget?   

While funding from this bond proposal is independent of district’s general fund operating budget, the bond would likely have a positive impact on the district’s general fund by allowing the district to reallocate operating funds that are currently being spent on aging facilities, mechanical systems, and technology. The operational savings generated from new and cost-efficient facilities would be redirected to student programs and resources. 

How much money would the bond proposal generate and would the funding be issued all at once?

The proposal would generate $45,230,000 which would be spent over six years on district-wide school building and site improvements. The bonds are proposed to be issued in two series (in 2023 and 2025). This allows for years of bond repayments to occur before a new series of bonds are issued.

Are technology purchases going to be amortized over a 23 year period? Is there a technology replacement plan?

No. Technology purchases are required to be amortized over a 5 year period beginning at the time of installation. Yes, each bond series has an allowance for future technology purchases and updates.

Are businesses and second homes (non-homestead properties) and primary homes (homestead properties) treated the same regarding bond debt millage?

Yes, businesses and second homes (non-homestead) and primary homes (homestead) are treated the same regarding bond debt millage.

Are there property tax exemptions to anyone of any kind?

If a business has been granted an Industrial Facilities Tax ("IFT") credit then only half of the taxable value is subject to the bond millage. The business would need to verify if some of the taxable value has been designated for the IFT credit. One item a community member could research is the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit. The Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit is a method through which some taxpayers can receive a credit for an amount of their property tax that exceeds a certain percentage of their household income. This program establishes categories under which homeowners or renters are eligible for a Homestead Property Tax Credit. We would recommend that community members consult their tax provider to determine if they are eligible for this tax credit.

Would money from the bond proposal be used to pay teachers’ salaries and benefits?

No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a bond for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries, routine maintenance, or operating costs. Bond revenue must be kept separate from operating funds and expenditures must be audited by an independent auditing firm.  

How would I know the bond funds would be spent the way they are supposed to be spent? 

Every bond construction fund is required to have an independent audit, per Bulletin 7, Public Act 451 of 1976 of the Revised School Code, effective May 12, 2014 (revised September 12, 2017). The objective of the audit is to determine if the bond proceeds have been expended in accordance with the stated purposes for which the bonds were authorized. 

The audit must be performed by an independent CPA, licensed with the Michigan State Board of Accountancy, and comply with generally accepted auditing standards as adopted by the American Institute of CPAs. A bond construction fund audit report is required after construction is completed as determined by a Certificate of Substantial Completion. This report is for the entire construction period, from the sale of the bond issue or the beginning of the project (whichever is earlier) through completion, and must include all activity in the fund for that period.

What oversights would hold the district accountable? 

If approved by voters, the district’s Architect/Engineer would design the proposed projects and prepare construction documents and specifications for the projects. Once the projects are designed, the district’s Construction Manager will assemble bid packages and publicly advertise to solicit competitive bids for all work. This is required by law, as outlined in the Revised School Code. This process ensures that the district selects the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. All qualified contractors will have an opportunity to attend a pre-bid meeting to obtain additional information and project clarification. All qualified contractors will have the opportunity to participate in the competitive bid process. 

At what point would the State of Michigan, as well as the local fire and police departments, provide input into the bond projects? 

Each project will be required to be submitted to both the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) and the Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) for both plan review and permitting. These agencies will review the projects to ensure they comply with applicable codes, before any building permits are issued. Building plans and specifications must be signed and sealed by a Licensed Architect/Professional Engineer before submission. As of March 21, 2019, Michigan law requires school districts to consult on the plans for the construction or major renovation regarding school safety issues with the law enforcement agency that is the first responder for that school building. This consultation would happen after a bond proposal has been approved by voters, before construction documents are finalized prior to project commencement.

How do I register to vote? 

Visit Michigan.gov/vote to register to vote online. It is recommended by the Secretary of State to register by mail by April 18, 2022 to participate in the May 3, 2022 election. Individuals may also register in-person at their local clerk’s office through May 3, 2022, with the required documentation. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit Michigan.gov/vote.

Are owners of property in the school district eligible to vote if they do not reside in the school district?

Owners of property are only eligible to vote if they reside in the school district boundaries. To be eligible to register to vote you must be:

  • A Michigan resident (at the time you register) and a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days (when you vote)
  • A United States citizen
  • At least 18 years of age (when you vote)
  • Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison

If I rent a house, can I vote?  

Yes, if you rent a house you can still vote. You must be a registered voter in the city or township you are living in and live within the district boundaries.

How is an absentee voter ballot obtained? 

Registered voters must complete and submit the application to receive their absentee voter ballot. To vote by mail, fill out the application and sign it, and then return it to your local clerk. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit Michigan.gov/vote. When filling out the application, if you check the box to be added to the permanent absentee voter list, you will get an application mailed to you before every election.  

If you registered to vote after absentee voter ballot applications were mailed, applications may be obtained online at Michigan.gov/vote. Absentee voter ballots are available starting as early as March 19 through May 3, 2022.

What are the key dates leading up to the Tuesday, May 3, 2022 election day? 

Registering to vote: 

  • The last day for voters to register by mail is April 18, 2022
  • Voters may register in-person through May 3, 2022 (election day) with the required documentation 

Absentee Voting:  

  • Absentee voter ballots are available as early as March 19 until May 3, 2022
  • Contact your local clerk with questions

Attend a public information community forum:

  • A public forum will be held. More information can be found in the "How do I learn more about the bond" section of this page.

Where and when will the vote occur?   

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 is election day, but absentee voting can occur leading up to that date. All registered voters may cast an absentee voter ballot by mail. Voters may also cast a ballot at the polling location established by their city/township. If you have questions or do not know where you vote, please contact your city/township office. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

What is the ballot language?

GREENVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BONDING PROPOSAL

Shall Greenville Public Schools, Montcalm, Kent and Ionia Counties, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Forty-Five Million Two Hundred Thirty Thousand Dollars ($45,230,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of:

erecting, furnishing and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, equipping and re-equipping and furnishing and refurnishing school buildings; acquiring, installing and equipping and re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; and preparing, developing, improving and equipping athletic facilities, playgrounds and sites?

The following is for informational purposes only:

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2023 is 2.12 mills ($2.12 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a .20 mill net decrease from the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-three (23) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 2.49 mills ($2.49 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds. The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $52,660,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $0. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.

(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)

In the ballot language, the first paragraph states a not to exceed figure of $45,230,000 of general obligation unlimited tax bonds, what does this mean?

If this bond proposal is approved by voters, the maximum amount of bonds to be issued can be no greater than $45,230,000.

In the ballot language, it states that the estimated millage that will be levied in 2023 to pay the proposed bonds in the first year is 2.12 mills, what does this mean?

This means that the allocated bond millage for this proposal to be levied in the first year (2023) is 2.12 mills. (2.12 mills new bonds + 4.88 mills existing bonds = 7.00 total estimated 2023 millage rate)

Is there an estimated increase in the bond millage rate in this bond proposal?

No, the bond millage rate is estimated to decrease by (0.20) mills (7.00 - 7.20) from the current levy. For a $100,000 market value/$50,000 taxable value home this equates to an estimated decrease of $10.00 per year or $0.83 per month.

In the ballot language it states that the maximum number of years any series of bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is not more than 23 years, what does this mean?

The school district plans to issue the bonds in 2 separate series, in 2023 and 2025. Each bond series would have a length of 23 years or shorter.

In the ballot language it states that estimated simple average annual millage that will be required to retire each bond series is 2.49 mills annually, what does this mean?

This means that over the entire life of the bond proposal (2 bond series) that the average annual bond millage rate is estimated to be 2.49 mills.

How has Greenville Public Schools handled its finances to prepare for the bond proposal?

In the past 9 years, Greenville Public School has saved school district taxpayers nearly $4,344,223 in interest costs by refinancing its outstanding bond debt. Our most recent refinancing of bonds in 2020 reduced the district’s debt service costs by about $2,750,373. These proactive measures by the district have helped to provide an opportunity to propose a long-term district facility plan with the May 3, 2022 bond proposal that is not expected to require a tax rate increase, in fact, the overall debt levy is expected to decrease (in comparison to the district’s current debt millage rate).

FINANCIAL FACTS 

Click here to download PDF.

The Board of Education is asking the community to consider a school bond proposal on the May 3, 2022 election ballot. This bond proposal would provide $45,230,000 of funding with an expected net TAX RATE DECREASE of 0.20 mills from the current rate.

Q: How are public schools financed in Michigan?

OPERATIONAL FUNDING

Funding for the day-to-day operations of the district is provided through state, federal and local sources. The majority of the funding is allocated through the state per pupil foundation allowance. Programs and services, personnel costs, utilities, supplies and routine maintenance costs are financed in this category.

SCHOOL BOND PROPOSAL

A bond proposal is how a public school district asks its community for authorization to borrow money to pay for capital expenditures. With a bond, when voters approve a specific amount of bonds then taxes are levied and collected to cover principal and interest of the bonds. Voter-approved bond funds can be spent on additions, remodeling, site improvements, athletic facilities, playgrounds, furnishings, equipment, technology, and other capital needs. Funds raised through the sale of bonds cannot be used on operational expenses such as employee salaries and benefits, school supplies, and textbooks. Bond funds must be kept separate from operating funds and expenditures must be audited by an independent auditing firm.

In 2017, Greenville voters approved a bond proposal that funded secure entries at all buildings, instructional technology, High School renovations, mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems, roofing and site improvements.

Q: How can we see a reduction in debt tax rate while still generating $45,230,000?

As the previous bonds are paid off, the levy related to the new bonds, if approved by voters, would be added on and is expected to be less than the overall debt levy rate. Greenville Public Schools current debt levy is 7.2 mills for existing debt. If approved, the proposal would add a projected 2.12 mills to the expected debt levy of 4.88 mills for existing debt, totaling 7.0 mills. This would be a net tax rate decrease of 0.20 mill from the current rate of 7.2 mills. The rate is projected to then remain at 7.0 mills through 2030, when an additional rate decrease is expected.

(If approved, there is an expected net TAX RATE DECREASE of 0.20 mills from the current levy)

Q: Would the school district immediately issue $45,230,000 of bonds?

No. The bonds are proposed are expected to be issued in two series (in 2023 and 2025).

Q: How would the bond proposal impact my property taxes?

If approved by voters, an overall debt tax rate net decrease of 0.20 mills from the current rate is expected for Greenville Public Schools property owners. [This tax impact is estimated to be an annual reduction of $10.00 per property taxpayer for each $100,000 market value ($50,000 in taxable value) of your property.] To determine your decrease tax impact, a tax impact calculator is available on the District’s website.

Q: When would the millage for this proposal first be levied?

On the July 1, 2023 property tax bill.

Q: Would the approval of the bond proposal have any impact on our current operational budget?

While funding from this bond proposal would be independent of the support the district receives from the State of Michigan for annual operations on a per pupil basis, the bond may have a positive impact on the annual operating budget for existing facilities. It would allow the district to reallocate operating funds that are currently being spent on aging facilities, mechanical systems, and technology. The savings generated from new and cost-efficient facilities could be redirected to student programs and resources.

Q: Would money from the bond proposal be used to pay teachers’ salaries and benefits?

No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a bond for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries, routine maintenance, or operating costs. Bond revenue must be kept separate from operating funds and bond revenue expenditures must be audited by an independent auditing firm.

Q: How would I know the bond funds would be spent the way they are supposed to be spent?

Michigan law requires that expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses. An audit would be completed at the end of each bond series project to ensure compliance.

Q: What is the independent audit of bond construction funds?

Every bond construction fund is required to have an independent audit, per Bulletin 7, Public Act 451 of 1976 of the Revised School Code, effective May 12, 2014 (revised September 12, 2017). The objective of the audit is to determine if the bond proceeds have been expended in accordance with the stated purposes for which the bonds were authorized. The audit must be performed by an independent CPA, licensed with the Michigan State Board of Accountancy, and comply with generally accepted auditing standards as adopted by the American Institute of CPAs. A bond construction fund audit report is required after construction is completed as determined by a Certificate of Substantial Completion. This report is for the entire construction period, from the sale of the bond issue or the beginning of the project (whichever is earlier) through completion, and must include all activity in the fund for that period.

Q: What is the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit?

The Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit is a method through which some taxpayers can receive a tax credit for an amount of their property tax that exceeds a certain percentage of their household income. This program establishes categories under which homeowners or renters are eligible for a Homestead Property Tax Credit. Please consult your tax consultant to determine if you are eligible for this tax credit.