GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) — The Grand Rapids Board of Education unanimously voted to approve language that will be used to seek voter approval of a no-tax-increase bond.
Grand Rapids Public Schools will ask residents to vote on a measure that would bring in an estimated $305 million to make improvements to schools for children in the district without an increase in property taxes for homeowners. This bond would continue the tax rate residents are already paying.
Approved Bond Language
Bonding Proposal for November 7 Election
Shall Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kent County, Michigan, borrow a sum of not to exceed Three Hundred Five Million Dollars ($305,000,000) and issue its general obligation, unlimited tax bonds in two or more series for the purposes of:
- purchasing, erecting, completing, remodeling, and equipping or reequipping school buildings, including library buildings, auditoriums, structures, athletic fields, playgrounds, playfields and other facilities, and parts of or additions to those facilities, and acquiring, preparing, developing and improving sites, or parts of or additions to sites, for school buildings;
- furnishing or refurnishing school buildings and parts of or additions to those facilities; and
- acquiring, installing, and equipping or reequipping school buildings and parts of or additions to school buildings for technology, technology infrastructure and safety and security improvements?
The following is for informational purposes:
The annual millage required to pay the debt service on the proposed and outstanding bonds is estimated to remain at or below the 2023 levy of 3.85 mills. The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2024 is 1.00 mills ($1.00 for each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a zero (0) mill increase from the prior year's levy. The estimated simple average annual millage rate required to retire the bonds is 1.83 mills ($1.83 for each $1,000 of taxable valuation). The maximum number of years that any series of the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, will not exceed twenty-six (26) years from the date of each issue.
(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the bond proceeds cannot be used for maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)
The board also voted to approve the Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan framework that proposes how bond dollars would be spent to meet the goal of providing safe, healthy and healing schools for every child in Grand Rapids.
Bond dollars would be focused on making improvements to schools including security enhancements, HVAC upgrades, food service updates, and investments in auditoriums and athletic facilities.
The plan also details how decisions will be made when it comes to realigning school buildings to appropriately meet the needs of the scholars served by the district.
“This is a critical step toward ensuring Grand Rapids Public Schools are ready to prepare children for success in today’s high-tech world. This work not only meets immediate needs for improvements, but also prepares our district to serve our scholars for generations to come,” GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby, Ph.D. said. “Today’s decision is all about tomorrow’s success. I couldn’t be more excited to serve with a school board and for a community that are focused on the future.”
The Reimagine GRPS with Us! plan comes a decade after the successful Transformation Plan. Supported by the passage of a bond in 2015, the Transformation Plan lead to widespread improvements for GRPS scholars. Improved graduation rates, increased offerings of theme school and specialized educational programs for scholars, and improved student attendance are among the hallmark successes of the plan.
The approved ballot language from Monday evening's vote will be used during the November 7 election.