District » 2022 Bond Election

2022 Bond Election

Frequently Asked Questions

May 3, 2022 Hastings Bond Proposal



1. Will the passage increase our current bond rate?

Yes, our current bond rate is 6.0 mills, and would increase 0.80 mills with the approval of our voters. 

2. You have the bond proposal at $23.9 million. Will this take care of all of our needs?

No, but it will provide many, many needed upgrades for our students for many years to come.  Passing this bond proposal would not take care of all our needs forever. Our goal would be to prioritize the facility needs in partnership with the community and finish some of the projects that we were not able to from the previous bond election.  

For instance, we replaced the single pane windows on the front of the high school but not the back.  This is an opportunity to continue to invest in our greatest community resource, our schools. The complete list of work to be accomplished can be accessed on the school website or through the QR code on our informational fliers.

3. What is the cost over the term of the bond issue?

The tax rate would increase 0.80 mills from the previous year (6.0 mills to 6.8 mills). (However, over the life of the bonds the average millage  is 2.33 mills.) 

4. I see the ballot language, but what are the other numbers indicating?

In the State of Michigan, voters approve school bond questions by the dollar amount.  This issue is asking our voters to approve $23.9M.  School elections are different from county or township issues in that voters are asked to approve a specific millage rate such as 0.5 mills for the county library.

5. What are the benefits to area townships in the school district?

Great communities and great schools are one in the same.  By taking advantage of continued investment in our schools, all of our communities are positively affected.  Facility upgrades would increase enrollment and increase the property values within the Hastings Area School System. Many of the proposed improvements would be preventative in nature, and extend out the life of the facilities. 

6. I am retired, what benefit does passing this do for me?

Public schools within the community are sustained and maintained financially by the local taxpayers. Retired community members benefit from this passing with school-community outreach programs, increasing property values, and the overall economic viability to the local community.  

7. What are the benefits to our community in passing this bond proposal?

The community already invests in their school buildings annually. It is vital that we continue to support preventative maintenance measures to keep our students safe, comfortable, and socially supported within their learning community. Moreover, benefits include increased property values, the local economy from enrollment, and the pride in our community. 

Quality schools absolutely affect the quality of life for all of our citizens. 

8. If the bond passes, when will work begin?

Work would begin the 2022-2023 school year. 

9. When will the work be completed by?

Work would be completed by 2026.

10. Why is the bond proposal important to our school district?

The bond proposal is important to our school district because we have many projects, and facility upgrades that need attention. We have a special opportunity to increase the tax rate slightly from the current year and levy approximately 23.9 million dollars for facility improvements. 

11. Are the proposed improvements in alignment with the District's overall Mission and Goals?

Yes, the proposed improvements are aligned with the District’s overall Mission and Goals. The current Strategic Plan communicates creating a world-class learning environment for every student, every day. 

12. What is the long term vision for the school district and its buildings?

The Hastings Area School System’s long term vision is to always focus on student learning, and providing opportunities for students to become college and career ready. Creating and being accountable to a preventative maintenance schedule is one of those tools, which will be followed to make sure our facilities are maintained. 

13. What process did the district use for this bond request?

We started with many of the needs that were not financially possible from the previous bond proposals. We have used local sinking funds to support many of these large projects including roofs at both Southeastern and Northeastern, heating and cooling projects, as well as many other needs across the District. This bond proposal will allow us to “finish what we started”. 

14. Who is on the Steering Committee?

Danielle Storrs (President), Justin Peck (Treasurer), Jeff Domenico (Secretary), Fred Jacobs and Chris Cooley.

15. Does the Board of Education support the proposal?

Yes, all Board members support the proposal. 

16. What is the Board doing to support this proposal?

Board members are having dialogue with the community, attending Citizens Committee meetings, participating in planning with building management and architects, and informing the public of this very special opportunity. 

17. Please share building by building improvements

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pRXqyPjs2VJRs3hFSE5ceVwDFTFZ3Qp6/view?usp=sharing

18. What security enhancements will be made?

We will be finishing the electronic key entry ways throughout the District, and also the manual key locks within the internal doors, hallways, etc. Our security cameras throughout the district will also be finalized with these funds.  

19. What kind of energy and cost saving improvements are planned?

Energy efficient windows, high efficiency mechanical equipment, roofs will be finished, boiler replacement, high quality water replacement are primary improvements that are planned for upgrades to energy savings.  

20. Why not use the district's operating budget to fund the needs listed in the proposal?

The priorities of the operating budget is education.  The focus will always be on students and staff and all of the operating needs to promote education.  The State of Michigan does not provide infrastructure funding like the State of Ohio and Indiana does.  The facility needs are too many, and are significant enough in cost that we would not be able to cover the cost of the projects. We have been using sinking and general funds to maintain our facilities over the past few years. This includes roofs, doors, security, heating and cooling, and many other facility upgrades.  

21. How are neighboring school districts addressing the aging conditions of their school buildings?

Thornapple Kellogg and Delton Kellogg have passed recent bond proposals to address the aging conditions of their school buildings. Thornapple Kellogg also has an annual enhancement mileage that comes from the local taxpayers, and is in addition to the State funding and greatly increases their operating budget. 

22. How would the bond impact learning environments for teachers and students?

Both teachers and students would benefit from the bond proposal. Our students would benefit from a renovated High School media center, cafeteria, bathrooms, locker rooms, roof, furniture, commons area, windows, instructional technology, and heating and cooling. We would also be replacing a boiler at Star Elementary and heating and cooling upgrades at each of the buildings, which include Consumers Power Energy rebates for adding high efficiency equipment. Moreover, we have a need to replace buses in our fleet to make sure our students get to school safely.  

23. Will bond dollars be used for staff salaries or other district expenses?

By law, no bond funds can be used for staff salaries or other district operating expenses.

24. If the bond proposal is passed, what are the next steps?

We would be working with our Building Management team to assist us in getting competitive bids for these projects. Bids would then be analyzed by the Board of Education then awarded. Contractors would then start and complete the projects. 

25. Will special emphasis be placed on hiring local contractors and suppliers?

We always encourage local contractors to bid on the proposals as this assists our local economy and supports our businesses. 

26. How can we be assured that the District won't be asking for additional improvements (bond issues) in the future?

We believe that with this bond proposal, and our adjoining sinking fund that we will fulfill the facility needs of the district over the next four to five years. We certainly want to be fiscally responsible with the general fund, and maintain a healthy positive annual budget. 

27. What is the plan to keep facility improvement disruptions to a minimum?

Within our current Strategic Plan we have made sure to develop continuous goals on preventative maintenance for the facilities.  

28. What is the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit?

It is a tax credit that you get on your State of Michigan income tax return based on the amount of property tax you pay relative to your adjusted gross income.  The net effect of the credit would be to reduce your overall tax burden.

29. What are the key dates leading up to the vote?

Absentee ballots are available on March 19, 2022, and the election is on May 3, 2022.

30. What is the procedure for absentee voting?

Citizens can contact their Clerk to register, and if they so choose sign up for an absentee ballot. This is then sent to their home so that they can vote with instructions on the ballot.

31. Will there be additional public meetings to learn more about the bond proposal?

Yes, we will be having community informational meetings to communicate the scope of the project and answer questions. 

32. How can I request a district representative to speak at a neighborhood, service club or business organization?

You can contact Matt Goebel at 269-945-6130, or matt.goebel@hassk12.org, or Danielle Storrs at 269-908-1974, or daniellestorrs@gmail.com.

33. Who may I contact if I have additional questions?

You can contact Matt Goebel at 269-945-6130, or matt.goebel@hassk12.org

34. Where is the best place to find information about the bond issue?

The best place to find information about the bond proposal would be the Hastings website at hassk12.org.  We also have an informational flyer outlining the work to be completed.  Furthermore, we have a Quick Response (QR) code that provides a direct link to all work to be completed as well as additional information regarding the bond question.

35. What does it mean when it says that bonds will be sold in 2 series?

The first bond sale will be for $15.8M.  By waiting nearly two years to sell the other $8.1M, we save the taxpayers almost two years of interest.  This is being fiscally responsible.

36. What happens if the bond doesn't pass?

If the bond doesn’t pass then the District would prioritize the most needed facility repairs and address them most likely through the sinking fund. However, the sinking fund is meant to maintain facilities annually, and not so much to address larger facility upgrades that cost a larger amount of money. 

37. I have heard that we are declining in enrollment. Why don't we close some of the schools?

We have been slightly declining in enrollment in recent years, however as we evaluate this variable annually we are not at a point where we could close a building based on our current enrollment.

38. I have seen the figures listed for costs of items. Why are they so expensive?

These items are best estimates based on square footage, resources, labor, and current projects that have taken place in Districts across the state. These numbers are budgetary numbers required by the State of Michigan.  All work will be competitively bid to ensure the best pricing and quality.

39. Why are there so many roof replacements?

The High School is the only roof replacement on this bond proposal. We have used sinking and general funds to address the roofs at Northeastern, Southeastern, and the Middle School (old portion). We are also looking at the Star Elementary (Gym) roof as there are areas that need attention, however we believe that we can take care of that with sinking and general funds. 

40. Why are there so many boiler replacements?

The only boiler that we are looking to replace is at Star Elementary based on the controls, and recommendations that we could certainly make that a more energy efficient building. 

41. We are declining in enrollment. Why do we need to do anything?

We are dedicated to providing a world-class learning environment for our students. We are also committed to maintaining and improving our facilities over time, especially since some of these larger projects have not been addressed in 50 years. Yes, we have passed bond proposals over the past 50 years, however there have been other needs prioritized at those given times within the District’s history. 

42. How will the actual bond proposal appear on the ballot?

The voters will be asked to approve the dollar amount of $23.9M.  The tax rate will  increase with a yes vote of 0.8 mills (from 6.0 to 6.8).

43. How much debt does our district currently have?

As of January 1, 2022 the district had bonded debt that totals $40,980,000.

44. How many school districts in the state have school debt?

77% of Michigan’s public school districts have qualified debt approved by the Department of Treasury. Other school districts have non-qualified debt but this type of debt is not secured, approved, and backed up by the State of Michigan. 

45. A YES vote typically means that you support a proposal. Is that the case in this election?

Yes.

46. Why now?

We can raise 23.9M to finish the projects that were started with the previous bond proposal that passed. We believe that finishing these projects will extend the life of our facilities well into the future. 

47. What are the lengths of the bonds?  Since this is similar to our house mortgage, for how many years will it be?

Series One (2021) will be paid off in 18 years, 6 months.  Series Two (2023) will be paid off in 16 years, 6 months.

48. Will the school district use the federal stimulus (ESSER) funds to help save the taxpayers dollars?

Yes, the federal government allows schools to use these grant funds in very specific, approved ways. We have to submit for approval but plan on maximizing the stimulus funds to save our taxpayers dollars. 

49. When will this bond proposal be paid off?

We have been very intentional with paying this particular bond off. This bond will be paid off in 14 years, nine months. Most bond proposals carry the debt for 25 to 30 years, but shortening the life of the debt will assist our taxpayers.