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Questions? Please visit our contact page or search for your question and answer below. 

  • Why do we need a bond proposal?
    Many school districts in the State of Michigan typically seek approval for bond proposals every 5-10 years. This allows for significant improvements to occur and keep district facilities current. The last bond proposal brought to the Eau Claire Public Schools district voters was a successful election in 1999. Through a recent strategic planning process, The Board of Education and district administration have identified a key goal to be that Eau Claire Community Schools will take pride and ownership of school facilities in order to provide a safe, appealing and welcoming environment to the community. Upgraded facilities that support education for our current and future students will be a major component in achieving this goal. Due to the size and scale of school buildings, maintenance, updates, and replacement of facilities is costly and often times not possible through the traditional funding received by school districts. Our district has a number of growing needs that require large sums of money to undertake. A bond proposal is the best approach to making the significant updates and improvements needed at ECPS.
  • What funding sources are available to schools?
    Schools receive funding from a number of sources. A simple breakdown of the sources is as follows: Foundation Per Pupil Allowance* The State of Michigan provides a per pupil amount of funding to school districts. Currently the amount received per pupil is $8,700. Operational Millage (Non-Homestead tax levy)* This is a voter approved tax levy that provides operational funding to support the annual school budget. The current Non-Homestead levy in Eau Claire is 18 mills. * Staff salaries and benefits account for approximately 80-85% of the use of Foundation and Operational Millage funding. The remainder of these funds are typically used for costs of educational programs, building operation costs and supplies. This leaves very little funding available for facilities improvements. Voter Approved Sinking Funds Voter approved sinking funds provide an annual collection of taxes based upon property values. Typically, the collection provides a smaller amount of funding that allow for minor facilities improvements and renovations. Sinking funds cannot be used for the purchase of buses or furniture. Eau Claire Public Schools currently does not levy a sinking fund. Voter Approved Bond Funds A bond is a state-approved borrowing process for a set scope of projects. When voters approve a bond proposal, the school district sells bonds in the authorized amount and uses the proceeds of the sale to pay for those projects identified in the bond proposal. Bond proposals are most useful when a district needs a large funding source for facility improvement projects. In many ways, the bonding process is like a homeowner obtaining a mortgage and making payments over a period of years. The current levy for bond debt in the Eau Claire Public School District is 2.80 mills.
  • Can any of the bond proposal funds be used for employee salaries or operating expenses?
    No. Bond proposal funds cannot be used for employee salaries. They also cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs or other operating expenses. Bond proposal funds must be used only for purposes specified in the ballot language, and as required by state law, they must be independently audited.
  • How does our current millage rate compare to other districts?
    We appreciate the continued investment the community has made in our school district and have been mindful of minimizing our impact to taxpayers by keeping a reasonable levy compared to many surrounding districts.
  • How would the bond proposal affect my taxes?
    If approved, the ballot proposal would allow the district to sell bonds in the amount of $7.8 million with a 0.0-mill net increase over the current tax rate. The bond would not be responsible for changes in market conditions such as rising property values/assessments. The amount of tax paid could potentially change due to these variables that are not driven by the bond proposal tax impact.
  • If I own multiple properties, how does the millage impact me? Does it only apply to my primary residence or business?
    The millage will impact all properties that you own that are located within the Eau Claire Public School District boundary.
  • How will my home value be affected if the bond is approved by voters?
    Research shows that real estate values tend to be higher in communities with school district that offer quality educational programming and have up to date school facilities.
  • Who can vote in this bond proposal election?
    Residents within the Eau Claire Public School district who will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day and are registered to vote.
  • Where can I get information about voting (such as how to register, where to vote, and absentee voting)?
    Go to the Michigan Voter Information website or call the Clerk’s Office where you reside.
  • Do I need to update my voter registration?
    You need to update your voter registration if you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted. You can do this at any Secretary of State Office or at the Clerk’s Office where you reside.
  • Can I vote by absentee ballot?
    Yes. Since voter approval of Proposal 3 in November 2018, registered voters do not need a reason to vote by absentee ballot. You can request an absentee ballot application from your Clerk’s Office or by going online to and clicking on Absentee Voting in the left column. Absentee ballots should be available to voters after June 22, 2024, and may be cast through Election Day.
  • How was the project scope of the bond proposal developed?
    Eau Claire Public Schools is committed to a process of creating and maintaining a proactive approach to updating facilities. Continually evaluating and monitoring school facilities helps to protect the community’s investment in its schools. A comprehensive effort has been made early in the process to identify current facility needs while also identifying and anticipating future needs through the creation of a long-term facilities plan. During the spring of 2019, working with architectural, engineering, construction, and technology specialists, the school district completed an in-depth facility study. The study identified districtwide facility needs and has helped inform the proposed direction of the bond proposal. Overall, there were approximately $31 million dollars of total facilities recommendations indicated in the report for Lybrook Elementary, the Middle/High School Building, and the Student Activities Center. A summary by building is as follows: Lybrook Elementary School Recommendations Years 1-5 $6,171,378 Recommendations Years 6-10 $4,426,039 TOTAL $10,597,417 Eau Claire Middle / High School Recommendations Years 1-5 $10,603,110 Recommendations Years 6-10 $7,086,551 TOTAL $17,689,661 Student Activities Center Recommendations Years 1-5 $1,778,108 Recommendations Years 6-10 $1,221,283 TOTAL $2,999,391 If interested, the full study is available on the district's website at: Early in 2022, conversations with staff, students, community members, and the Board of Education identified additional thoughts for advancing the facility offerings as they relate to the educational needs and goals of the district. Many of the items that were shared were beyond the maintenance and upkeep needs identified in the facility study and were focused on projects that help support educational programming needs. As ideas and scenarios were studied for a potential bond proposal, additional input was provided by a community-based steering committee. The broader community also was engaged through two community forums held in the fall of 2022. Input received was critical in testing potential scope ideas for a bond proposal along with gaining feedback on the financial impact to the community of a prospective bond in May of 2023. Following the failure of the May 2023 bond, additional discussions with the community and Board of Education, allowed for further discussion about the potential financial impact and scope for the August 2024 bond. Key items of feedback included the desire for a financial impact that does not raise the millage rate over the current levy of 2.8 mills. Key priorities for the project scope were identified as projects that focused on greater safety + security, mechanical upgrades that provide consistent heating and cooling (or preparation of cooling), and improving access to our facilities for those with physical impairments.
  • What are the main goals of the proposed bond scope?
    Safety and Security - The safety and security of our students and staff is the highest priority. Peace of mind in the classroom allows for a more comfortable learning experience. Secure Entry Vestibules - The bond includes upgrades to the existing building entries. The entry areas will be sectioned off from the remainder of the building to control visitor access. The use of electronic door controls and video doorbell systems will allow office staff to control and monitor visitors enter the building. The vestibules will have the capability of ‘locking down’ the building via duress control buttons. ADA/Accessibility Improvements - As a district we are committed to providing equal access to our facilities. Lybrook Elementary currently has a number of conditions including access to the main entry and to the cafeteria that do not meet ADA accessibility requirements. The proposed improvements will provide barrier free accessibility to all spaces of the building. Educational Environment Improvements - As educational trends continue to change and evolve, our facilities need to be flexible and relevant in ways that best support best practices in teaching and learning. State of the art educational environments that are comfortable will help our students to be prepared for careers of the future. The bond scope seeks to provide a combination of new amenities to support student performance. Mechanical systems will be upgraded to provide spaces with improved heating and will also include air conditioning creating year round comfort to students and staff. Classroom furniture replacement will focus on providing new furniture that is geared toward greater space flexibility in the learning environment. Technology upgrades are included to make sure students are working with up-to-date instructional technology. Renovation of the high school science lab will give students a more flexible and state-of-the-art space for science exploration. Energy Efficiency / Operational Costs - As part of the mechanical systems replacement, we will look at installing higher efficiency equipment. Upgrades to our mechanical systems will include new building controls that will allow for greater monitoring and control over energy use. Replacement of single pane window systems that are anticipated to improve energy performance. Energy savings improvements allow the district to divert funding from operational costs toward items that will directly affect education. Maximize Space Use and Flexibility - Education practices continue to change. Our goal is to create spaces that are adaptable to the change over time. Flexibility is a key component of the projects proposed. Replacement of classroom furniture will allow for classrooms to be more agile to support a number of arrangements for teaching and learning. The addition of a new gymnasium will create greater opportunities for physical education and will provide another venue in the building for large group instruction. Science lab improvements at the high school will focus on creating an environment that allows for a wide variety of science activities.
  • What are the potential uses for the proposed gymnasium addition at Lybrook Elementary and what benefits would this space provide?
    Programming flexibility – The new space would provide dedicated elementary gym space separated from cafeteria space. Currently the same space serves as both and limits the flexibility of use for elementary physical education due to the meal-time set up and tear-down. Indoor recess opportunities for elementary students – The new space would provide greater opportunities for indoor recess activities that will allow for students to have physical activity that helps improve focus when returning to the learning environment. The new space will provide an evening and off-season practice venue for a multitude of athletic programs. The additional space will allow for practice times to be earlier in the evening for student-athletes. The new space has the potential to become a community asset and could be used for community recreation leagues, community organization programming and other uses.
  • How would the community be involved in design and facility planning following a successful election?
    Upon a successful election, many stakeholders including staff, students and parents will be engaged to further define and develop the designs of the proposed projects. We also plan to host a community forum and receive input from the community to help shape the potential designs.
  • Why aren’t all of the projects being completed on the same timeline?
    The amount of work being proposed in the bond proposal is significant. As such, our Construction Management partners believe it to be the best practice to stagger the implementation of the projects. This will allow for greater contractor participation and will not overstress the construction market that currently is struggling with labor availability. Greater participation of bidders means greater competition and hopefully better bid results that will benefit the school district.
  • How does cost escalation and the current market impact the project scope?
    Budgeting that has been provided for the proposed bond scope is based upon current market conditions. Going forward, the costs include typical yearly escalation factors and construction contingency funds for unforeseen conditions that are encountered during construction. The district will work to preserve the projects as originally presented to the community during the pre-bond planning phase. In the event unexpected market conditions arise, the district intends to implement projects in order of highest priority to lowest priority and will be fully transparent about any change in plans that may be necessary due to elements outside of their control.
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