Negaunee schools seek bond proposal: Funds would go toward upgrades
NEGAUNEE — Negaunee Public Schools will ask voters in the Negaunee School District on the Aug. 4 ballot to decide on a 0.99-mill bond proposal for a period of 25 years.
For the average homeowner in the district, 0.99 mills would create an increase in taxes of approximately $3.90 each month.
NPS would borrow an amount not to exceed $8.5 million and issue general obligation unlimited tax bonds for a variety of upgrades. State school funding laws do not permit the district to levy any mills beyond the 18 mills that it levies on non-homestead property to pay for day-to-day operational expenses such as salaries, benefits, classroom materials and instructional resources.
“The bond proposal would allow us to make some much needed improvements throughout the district,” Superintendent Dan Skewis said in an email. “The media centers at both the middle school and high school would be renovated, windows at the middle school would be replaced and classrooms at Lakeview Elementary would be renovated as well.”
The pool at Negaunee High School also would receive some much needed upgrades, according to Skewis, who said that in addition to the building level improvements, the bond proposal would include the construction of an enclosed practice facility on the south side of Miner Stadium.
“It would allow for both our students and community members to participate in a variety of physical activities including, but not limited to, baseball, softball, track, tennis, pickleball, soccer and football,” Skewis said. “The facility would also be used by our marching band to practice their halftime routines, which are performed during our football games.”
A community update details the needs for the libraries at the middle and high schools.
“The libraries at both Negaunee Middle School and Negaunee High School have been valuable spaces for our students for over four decades,” the update reads. “However, as learning methods and tools have progressed and technology has advanced, these areas have become outdated.
“With these changes, we strive to continue to provide the best learning environment for our students. Our current libraries have large book collections, along with heavy, fixed bookcases and bulky desks that all take up valuable floor space.”
The plan is to renovate the libraries that will support project-based learning and complement the shift to teaching through group collaboration and the use of technology. Students could perform research as well as take part in group activities and individual studies.
To accomplish this, the district said it would use light mobile furniture to create flexible work spaces.
“The increase in individual learning plans for students has also created the need for a place where students can engage in online curriculum and distance learning,” the update states. “These individual work stations would be located in the updated media centers. Compatible furniture that can be arranged in a variety of configurations would transform the libraries into modern media centers.”
Regarding Lakeview Elementary, the needs are similar. Flexible classroom furniture, useful storage units, and updated electrical and lighting would improve learning opportunities, the district said, and the ability to create a variety of classroom layouts with mobile furniture and storage units will ensure safe, comfortable environments for both children and adults.
The school district also said the need for an indoor practice facility rises from the delays in the beginning of the spring athletic season for athletes because of spring snowstorms and poor outdoor field conditions.
With the addition of the Miner tennis facility near the high school in 2014, the tennis teams no longer use south side tennis courts at the football field. The proposal is for the area to be used for the indoor facility with a building measuring approximately 150 feet by 125 feet.
For example, softball and baseball fields could hold batting practice inside using batting nets. Golfers also could use the suspended nets for hitting practice.
Additionally, community groups or individuals would have the opportunity to use the facility for the same activities outside of the normal school practice schedule.
Negaunee kindergarten teacher Ally Solander favors the bond proposal, pointing out that the upgrades will give students the best opportunity to succeed in all areas.
“I feel this bond will make a difference for students of all levels, from early elementary to our seniors,” Solander said in a social media post. “It will positively impact their education. This investment will support our future Miners for years to come.”
Projects at the high school to be completed with proceeds from the issue include a dehumidification system in the high school pool area, upgrading the pool locker rooms and the corridor leading to the pool, boiler replacement and roof repair.
Projects at the middle school include replacing 261 windows, including new blind installation; roof repair; and technology upgrades, which include the purchase of interactive touch screens for each classroom.
Lakeview projects include modernization of 31 classrooms, upgrades of speech classrooms, updates to the guidance and main offices, an additional classroom, window replacement in several classrooms, roof repair, the purchase of 500 Chromebooks and a trap/pipe analysis, along with replacement of steam traps.
With the proposed indoor practice facility, fencing along Teal Lake Avenue, Arch Street and Hungerford Avenue would be updated.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.