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Plymouth-Canton Aims for 2013 Bond, Closure of Central Middle School

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools looks to close antiquated school building while offering improvements to district's remaining buildings.

If Plymouth-Canton Community Schools has its way, voters in the district could hit the polls in May 2013 to decide whether to accept $117 million school bond proposal — and the closing of a historic middle school in Plymouth.

The bond, if approved, could include closing aging Central Middle School, which administrators say would be more cost-effective than renovating the building to implement more modern amenities. 

Rather than building a new middle school, however, the district would look to spend about $28 million to improve and expand its existing middle schools to take in the additional students.

District identifies needs for improvement

The bond also would cover other building improvements, technology upgrades, network renovations and replacing outdated buses and district vehicles.

Jeanne Farina, assistant superintendent for instructional services, said classroom upgrades would provide students with a "21st-century" learning environment.

With the proposed bond, funds would be used to provide laptops or tablets for teachers, document cameras, portable digital recording carts, interactive projectors  and other high-tech upgrades across Plymouth-Canton's elementary, middle and high schools, Farina said. 

Phil Freeman, assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, said $9.1 million would be used to replace a total of 88 high-mileage buses over six years and 15 aging district vehicles would be replaced over six years for $417,650.

If Central Middle School is closed, Freeman said, there are two options on the table to improve and add to the district's existing middle schools.

One would fill the schools to 89 percent capacity while providing additions to three middle schools and adding the equivalent of about 27 classrooms to the tune of $27.743 million, and the other would offer additions to four middle schools with the equivalent of 33 classrooms, filling the schools to about 86 percent capacity for $25.712 million, Freeman said.

The bond, if approved would be broken into two series, Freeman said, with $53.4 million sold in June 2013, and $63.6 to be sold in late 2015 or early 2016.

No millage increase planned

While the bond would raise $117 million for the school district's improvements, taxpayers won't see an increase as the bond would merely extend their current debt levy of 4.10 mills from an existing millage, Freeman said.

If the bond is approved, Freeman said, taxpayers would pay the same amount in 2013 that they paid in 2012. The tax burden for 2013 would primarily cover the existing millage while beginning to chip away at the new millage. 

By acting now, the district also can take advantage of unusually low interest rates, administrators said.

According to the district's projections, the district's existing millage would be paid off by 2030, and the new millage would be paid off by 2036. During this time, the tax burden would remain the same or decrease from 2012's amount each year.

In tangible figures, the district provided the following table to calculate the daily, monthly and yearly tax burden.

Home Market Value Assessed Value Cost Per Day Cost Per Month 2013-14 Cost $150,000 $75,000 $0.07 $2.19 $26.25 $200,000 $100,000 $0.10 $2.92 $35 $250,000 $125,000 $0.12 $3.65 $43.75 $300,000 $150,000 $0.14 $4.38 $52.50

Bond talks still preliminary

Talks still are just beginning for the bond proposal, and discussions and projections will continue before school board members agree to put the bond to a public vote.

Administrators provided the following timeline for the millage, leading to its projected May 7, 2013 vote:

  • December: Community receptivity survey
  • December: Informal presentations
  • Dec. 11: Board meeting (update on planning)
  • Jan. 8, 2013: Board meeting — Board informally approves treasury qualifications and scope of projects
  • Jan. 18, 2013: District and bond counsel meet with Department of Treasury
  • Feb. 12, 2013: Board meeting — Board officially adopts resolution to call election (approves formal pre-qualification application)
  • Feb. 26, 2013: Ballot language sent to election coordinator
  • May 7, 2013: Election
dswan December 10, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Jeosika, If the district must close Central now; they have alternatives other than adding classrooms that will only be used for 5 years. Given that there's excess K-5 capacity; one option is to move 6th grade back to the elementary schools. The district ought to look at the demographic trends and come up with a long term plan.
TMNI January 13, 2013 at 12:35 AM
I couldn't be happier that they want to close Central. It was nasty 30 years ago when my husband when there. Now my daughter, a Kindergartener, would have to go there. The thought of her spending 8hrs a day 5 days a week for 3 years in that old moldy building makes me want to look into private schools (which with 3 kids wouldn't be easy). I'm sure there is plenty that can be done with the building it someone wants to pour the money into it but, it really is an eye sore. My husband and I are lifelong plymouth residents. I understand the need for historical buildings. The Penn is great! I love going to a movIe there but, I'm not required to spend 40+ hrs a week there either. There are MANY beautiful buildings in Plymouth worth fighting for, Central Middle School just isn't one of them.
Jackson Wilson III January 22, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Central is a great school.Period. If we can afford to add on to other schools, take that money, put in individual heating and cooling units in each room.presto, magico, DONE. Dealing with the heat was minimal,only a few days a year....NEVER heard ANY complaints about it being cold there.NEVER...Teachers and staff, and PTO there was pretty darn good.
Quack Quack March 18, 2013 at 04:08 AM
I am currently at Central and I wouldn't have it any other way! Shout out to Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. VanderWal in the library for being freakin amazing! Mr. Ballard, Mr. Dinan, Ms. Eagles and Ms. Medley are the BEST coaches ever. Mr. Ruela and Mr. Hunter have the administration right. Coach LaPointe is the ultimate P.E. teacher. Huge shout out to Ms. Smith, Mr. Helmes, Mr. Calzone and Mr. Jadallah for doing bus duty EVERY day. NJHS would not exist without Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. Stop, Mrs. Mollick, Ms. Wells and Mrs. Boyd. Our morning announcements are hilarious on staff members birthdays thanks to Mr. Boyd. Plus 7th hour, WEB leaders and so many more clubs. PCCS world not be PCCS without central
Quack Quack March 20, 2013 at 06:34 PM
derp Mrs. Anderson is on NJHS as well sorry Mrs. A

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