Buchanan community discusses $34.9 million BCS bond proposal

Published 6:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

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BUCHANAN — Buchanan Community Schools hosted a bond proposal informational meeting Wednesday at Buchanan Christian Church, 112 W. Third Street, Buchanan.

Community members were able to learn and ask questions about the proposal, which if approved by voters on Nov. 8, would allow the district to sell bonds and generate approximately $34.97 million with a 3.5-mill net increase over the current tax rate of 2.35 mills. The funds generated from the 28-year bond would provide building and site improvements to address identified and ongoing facility projects based on facility assessments and community input and align grade levels based on similar growth and development stages.

Below are the proposed grade level alignments: Ottawa Elementary – grades PK-1, Moccasin Elementary – grades 2-5, Buchanan Middle School – grades 6-8, Buchanan High School – grades 9-12.

Renovations and improvements to Moccasin Elementary, Buchanan High School and the installation of artificial turf and a new track at the high school’s athletic field would be the bulk of the bond issue’s proposed scope of work.

Moccasin Elementary School will add 5th Grade to the building. The bond referendum will fund major renovations and additions to the building, including security enhancements, additional classrooms, renovations to the library, media center and art room, a new gym and playground equipment, an elevator and a resurfaced parking lot. Additional improvements include door replacement for security, window replacement, new HVAC system with air conditioning, roof replacement, new classroom casework/cabinets, restroom reconfiguration and upgrades to meet ADA accessibility requirements, new flooring, ceiling and painting and replacing the lighting with LED.

Buchanan High School would receive interior renovations to improve the learning environment and replace failing equipment, totaling approximately $14.7 million. The 8th grade will be relocated to Buchanan Middle School. Key improvements include classroom door replacement for security​, a new HVAC system with air conditioning, classroom technology upgrades, Restroom reconfiguration and upgrades to meet ADA accessibility requirements, corridor and classroom floor finish replacement, window replacement, replace lighting with LED and space renovations including:

  • Media center / project rooms​
  • Classroom reconfiguration to increase sizes of the smallest classrooms
  • District office and high school administration office
  • Career technology education classrooms and lab
  • Science lab renovations
  • Culinary lab renovations
  • Transportation center

How has the school district prepared its finances in anticipation of the bond election?

In May of 2021, Buchanan Community Schools and the Board of Education saved taxpayers $882,834 by refinancing the District’s 2013 School Building and Site Bonds. The debt levy for the existing debt is projected to decrease by 1.15 mills with the 2023 levy, and much of that millage savings is attributed to the 2021 bond refinancing. 

The proposed bonds are projected to require 3.50 mills in the first year, which is a 2.35 mill increase from the 2022 levy since the mills for the other debt are expected to be reduced by 1.15 mills with the 2023 levy. 

Would the approval of the bond proposal have an impact on the operational budget? 

While funding from this bond proposal is independent of the district’s general fund operating budget, the bond would likely positively impact the district’s general fund by allowing the district to reallocate operating funds currently being spent on aging facilities and mechanical systems. The operational savings generated from new and cost-efficient facilities could be redirected to student programs and resources.

Any registered voter living in the Buchanan Community Schools district can vote on the bond. Voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8. To register to vote, you must be a resident for at least 30 days, at least 18 years old, and a citizen of the United States. To find your polling location or information about absentee voting, visit mvic.sos.state.mi.us.