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Bond issue addresses needs within district



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November 17, 2010 - Dear Editor,

Approximately three years ago (2007) the Goodrich Board of Education and a facility planning committee, consisting of 80 community members, staff and administrators, developed and prioritized a scope of needs for a bond issue. The scope met the capacity of the district's ability to bond for $32 million at that time. For various reasons, prior to going to a formal vote, the issue was set aside for future consideration. However, the needs did not go away in the district.

In December 2009, the board refinanced the existing bond with a lower interest rate. This action saved the taxpayers considerable dollars. It also put the district in a favorable position to consider a future bond issue to accomplish some of the needs outlined from the 2007 recommendations.

In August of 2010, our bond counsel informed us that, due to the five year average on property values, the amount that we could bond for had dropped from $32 million to $15.4 million. They were aware of our needs and suggested that we should consider a bond election on Feb. 22, 2011. Waiting until May 2011 lowered our ability to bond to only $1.6 million. Due to the needs of the district, the board elected to seek a bond issue in February. We believed that we could meet the short timeline due to the fact that the priority needs, outlined by the 2007 facility planning team, were still priority needs. Unfortunately, we had to reduce that list to $15.4 million.

The board building and site committee began meeting with the architect and construction management firm to determine a scope of work. The committee valued and honored the work that had been done by the community team. The #1 priority lists, of three years ago, are still the basic needs that existed in our buildings today. These needs are in the areas of safety, technology, facility improvements (educational and athletic) and energy upgrades. The board committee and administrators met numerous times to cross check our current needs with the priority list. The list remained the same except a decision was made to ask the community for a multi-sport turf athletic field (turf plus excavation, $600,000, 3.percent) and construction of a cafeteria at Reid ($500,000, 3.24 percent). These two items amount to 7.14 percent of the $15.4 million bond amount.

The board approved the scope of work on Oct. 18. This allowed us to go to the department of treasury on Wednesday, Nov.10. The board of education held a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 15, to approve the official application to treasury.

This process did move along very quickly, but it was not done hastily. We had to meet deadlines in order to bring the question to the voters on Feb. 22. The input for this bond issue was taken from the recommendations made to the board from the community planning team. We are very thankful for the thorough and conscientious work by this group.

Now that treasury has approved our application, on Nov. 17, a full informational report outlining the details of the bond proposal will appear on our school website and hard copies will be available in our school offices. This information will be in a question and answer format. This information is for the purpose of informing you of the facts and reasons for the items. We feel that this bond issue is addressing the needs of all areas within the district, with particular focus on the high school and Reid. I hope the Q & A will clear up some of the rumors and perceptions that have developed within the community. We will also list the dates and times for community informational meetings that will be held to answer your questions. I thank you for your time and look forward to sharing the details of the bond proposal with you.

John Fazer

Goodrich Area Schools

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