RCAPS seek community input for potential bond

Bond could appear on May 2016 ballot

REED CITY — For years, schools have faced state funding cuts which forced administrators to make financial decisions typically resulting in pushing facility needs to the side.

Reed City Area Public Schools have recently moved out of the financial danger zone identified by the Michigan Legislature, according to Tim Webster, RCAPS superintendent.

With this move, administrators believe it's time to take the needs off the back burner, but are asking for the community's help.

To give RCAPS an idea of what residents would like to see done to the district, a survey has been created.

"We have not cut student programs, we don't do pay-to-play in athletics, we keep our class sizes down and we have built up our fund equity," Webster said. "We have come to a point where our facilities need to be addressed."

The proposed bond has two parts. If the district moves forward, the bond will appear on the May 2016 ballot.

The first part is focused on the facility needs such as roofs, security, buses, furniture, phone systems, carpet, parking lots and more.

"It is my opinion that all of these are a must fix for our students to live and learn in a positive, safe environment," Webster said.

This first part would be funded by extending the current bond for two years and keeping the millage rate of 3.18 percent.

The current bond lasts until 2029 and with the two additional years, it would last until 2031 and would generate close to $4 million for the district.

The second part is focused on school upgrades.

"We have some people, including me, who think we should have some school enhancements," Webster said. "We are competing with other schools and nicer facilities draw people into the community."

Considerations for upgrades could include an auditorium/multipurpose space, a high school gym, weight room and locker room upgrades and replacing the track.

"This is why we need the community's help," Webster said. "To see if people want to do these upgrades and if so, what should be done."

Part two would require a tax rate increase.

If the community's input on part two was positive, the survey would provide information for the district to see which upgrades sparked people's interest.

Once the surveys are reviewed, exactly how much the tax rate would increase and for how many years it would be in place would be determined.

Survey results will determine if the district places both parts on the ballot.

"A good strong school system attracts people to our community which helps the entire community grow," Webster said. "We aren't just building a school for the kids. We are building a school for the community."

To take part in the bond community survey, visit reedcity.k12.mi.us/index.htm.

For more information, contact Webster at (231) 832-2201.