If approved, bond money would be used to redo parking lots at the district’s elementary schools, which would be reconfigured to allow for more drop-off and pickup lanes so that more vehicles could get off of residential streets.

If approved, bond money would be used to redo parking lots at the district’s elementary schools, which would be reconfigured to allow for more drop-off and pickup lanes so that more vehicles could get off of residential streets.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske


Lakeview looking to ask voters for bond issue

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 10, 2019

 Overcrowding of parking lots leads to crowded residential streets surrounding Lakeview’s elementary schools.

Overcrowding of parking lots leads to crowded residential streets surrounding Lakeview’s elementary schools.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Stating that a new bond would address needed improvements without increasing taxes, Lakeview Public Schools has begun the process needed to bring a bond issue before voters in November.

At a public meeting May 30, Lakeview Superintendent Karl Paulson explained that bonds are complementary to the school’s general fund budget, which is financed by the state on a per-pupil basis. The money that Lakeview received from the state in per-pupil funding for 2018, $8,190 per student, pays for teacher salaries and other operating costs, but cannot cover needed improvements like new roofs, heating and cooling systems, security upgrades, and parking lot repairs and configurations. In 2007, Lakeview’s per-pupil funding allowance was $8,117.

Lakeview is set to spend $45.2 million from the general fund in 2019, compared with $28.2 million in 2008. Paulson said that the increase can be attributed to increased enrollment in Lakeview, which went from 2,929 students in 2008 to 4,344 students in 2019, an increase of 48%.

Resident and school-of-choice enrollment is up, which he said is a reflection of quality programs and services in Lakeview.

Lakeview’s debt fund is at $4.3 million, with a projected surplus of $340,000 this year, Paulson said.

“We’re spending a lot of money on maintaining the old stuff from the general fund,” he said.

The proposed $54 million bond would address safety and security concerns, including cameras and monitoring systems, classroom door emergency locks, emergency alert systems, and new layouts for many of the district’s parking lots and driveways to address traffic flow problems and get parents’ vehicles off nearby streets. It would also update computers for staff and students, install new cabling and wireless infrastructure, as well as replace roofs, heating and cooling systems, and windows and lighting to improve efficiency.

At all schools, new classrooms would be added to accommodate multipurpose teaching spaces that would be used, for example, for students working on projects in small groups and teachers working one-on-one with students. Currently, some of those activities are held in hallways or in converted custodial closets.

There would also be reconfigurations to elementary school offices to improve security, making it so that office staff could see who is entering a building before they approach the door. New turf, stadium bleachers and press box facilities would be installed at the high school, and new musical instruments would be purchased for grades five through 12.

Paulson said that the current tax levied by the district, 7.99 mills, would remain the same even if the bond is approved as old debts are being paid off. In response to a resident’s question, Paulson explained that the millage would begin to decrease if the new bond is not approved, but very slowly. Items that were paid for with previous bond issues, such as roofs and parking lots, are once again in need of replacement.

Two-thirds of the roofs in the district are past their useful life or will be in two or three years, and some of them are occasionally leaking. Replacing them is not possible with money from the general fund, though, he said.

In the elementary schools, teachers for special subjects such as music and art have to come to each classrooms because there is not enough space for them to have their own classroom. The added multifunction rooms could alleviate some of that, he said.

The district has not gone to voters for a bond issue since 2007. Work approved in a 2001 vote was completed in 2010, and work approved with the 2007 vote was finished in 2011.

“We’ve seen Lakeview residents consistently support our schools. You’ve got to keep the kids in the seats. (If) the kids leave, the money leaves with them,” Paulson said.

In all, $20.8 million would be used to renovate and remodel schools; $10.6 million would be spent on new construction, $5.1 million would be spent on new technology, equipment and infrastructure; $3.4 million would be spent on equipment and furniture; and $4.8 million would be spent on parking lots and playing fields.

The Board of Education voted June 4 to approve the application for the bond issue to be sent to the state Treasury Department. The board will next consider the approval of ballot language and a call for November election at its July 16 meeting.

If the bond is approved by voters, the district would sell $10 million worth of bonds in January 2020 to begin the first phase of work, including some security and technology upgrades, as well as heating and cooling and materials purchases, and then would sell $44 million worth of bonds in 2022 to begin the remainder of the construction and renovation projects.

For more information, visit www.lakeviewpublicschools.org.

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