Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main priorities with this bond proposal?
Our main areas of focus are
- 21st Century Learning Improvements
- Health, Safety and Security Upgrades, and
- Investments in Infrastructure.
What is meant by 21st Century Learning?
Our focus will be to provide an environment where each student’s needs are being met. This would include 1 to 1 technology, flexible learning spaces, active and movable furniture, and space for small groups and individualized instruction. We want to meet the needs of the changing learner.
Are the 21st Century Learning improvements going to take place in each building?
Yes, the goal is to improve the learning environment at all levels.
Why are we extending the learning spaces in Brookside and Riverview?
We are trying to create unique environments for our teachers, staff and students to teach and learn. We want to create flexible spaces that can be used for small groups, individualized learning and to help to reach all learning styles.
Why wouldn't you open Eastwood or Hillcrest?
Eastwood is currently running well through a partnership with the MOISD. It is currently serving as an early childhood center for the community. However, it would not be cost effective to open Hillcrest. Both schools were originally closed due to the costs to operate them. Bond funds cannot be used for operational purposes.
Why are you not able to use bond funds for operational purposes?
Legally, bond funds cannot be used for: staff salaries and wages, general operating expenses and maintenance, classroom supplies and textbooks and administration.
Why is there a need to improve the air handling?
We want to improve the air quality in each of our buildings. We want to provide the healthiest possible environment for our staff to teach and students to learn.
Where are the safety improvements going to take place?
The safety improvements will take place district wide. Security improvements, air handling, and new buses will create a safer environment for all of our staff and students in some way.
What is the average age and mileage of our buses?
Our buses are currently an average of over 10 years old and they average over 128,000 miles driven. The oldest bus that we still have on our routes is 18 years old.
What is the difference between the sinking fund money for roof improvements and this bond money for roof improvements?
We have over $2,600,000.00 of roof repairs that are needed. We currently bring in about $300,000.00 per year in our sinking fund. We have started the process of repairing our worst roofs; however, we will not be able to meet all of the needs during the duration of the sinking fund, even if we spend the entire amount, every year, on just the roofs. We are extremely grateful for the many great safety improvements we have been able to make with the sinking fund dollars that our community has supported.
What improvements are going to be made to the auditorium?
The stage and house lighting will be upgraded, along with the sound system. There will also be new curtains, scrim and storage.
Is there a budget for new district owned band and industrial arts equipment?
Yes. There has been money budgeted to replace band equipment at the middle and high school. There has also been money budgeted to provide new industrial arts equipment at the high school.
Why would we need a multi-purpose field when we can use FSU?
We use FSU 4 or 5 times a year, which we have been fortunate to do. However, there is a school and community need to have a stadium in which we can host marching band festivals, all levels of soccer, all levels of football, all levels of track and field and other community events. We have not been able to host numerous events because of our current field conditions.
How many events could be hosted on the new multi-use stadium?
We anticipate over 60 events will take place annually.
What would happen to our other facilities if we had a multi-purpose field?
They would still be used for practices as they are right now.
Why aren’t we voting on the separate items individually?
Our board has determined we have enough need in each area that it would not be best to divide. Students, staff, and community were very consistent in what they felt were our greatest needs in each of our listening sessions and through our strategic planning process.
Why is there a need for additional flexible learning/ multi-purpose space at the high school?
Our current gyms are used by students, youth and community groups extensively. Many times we have students and youth practices until past 9:00 P.M. Although we try to accommodate all community requests for space, we have had to turn many away because of the lack of space. This space will be used daily for school classes, school groups, fine and industrial arts events, community events, school practices or youth programs, just to name a few.
How many events take place in our schools outside of the normal school day?
In the 2016-2017 school year over 3200 events took place outside of the normal day. Over 800 of those events were put on by outside groups or community organizations.
When was the last time Big Rapids Public Schools passed a bond proposal?
It has been 21 years since BRPS passed a bond proposal. The last bond proposal passed in 1996.
Are we still paying the total 7 mills that were approved in 1996?
No. We have been able to lower the amount that has been levied to 3.1 mills per year, due to the fact that the taxable value in our community has increased.
How will this bond proposal impact our current debt levy?
It will cause it to increase by 2.9 mills in the first year. The amount will reduce over time as the existing millage is retired.
If this bond passes in November, when would the improvements be made and ready for use?
We would begin working on the projects as soon as the spring of 2018.
Would there be a priority on what projects begin first?
The nice thing about a bond proposal is that we are able to begin all of the projects as soon as possible. However, we will want to make sure that we do not disrupt instruction in order to get the projects done.
How do we register to vote?
If you would like to vote in this election, you must be registered by October 10th. You can register by visiting our local Secretary of State office. You can also register or check to see if you are registered by visiting www.Michigan.gov/vote.
When do we vote?
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
7:00am - 8:00pm
Where do we vote?
Vote in your usual polling place for local, state, and national elections. Visit www.Michigan.gov/vote to locate your polling place or to register to vote.
Who can vote?
Any registered voter living in the Big Rapids School District.
What about absentee voting?
Visit www.michigan.gov/vote to request an absentee ballot or ask for one at your Township or County Clerk’s office.
I don't see my question in this list. How can I get an answer?
For more information, please attend one of the two community information sessions. They will take place:
10/4/17- Big Rapids High School Media Center 6:30pm
10/23/17 - Big Rapids Middle School Media Center 6:30pm
Or call Big Rapids Public Schools Central Office at (231) 796-2627.