District » Martin Public Schools Bond Extension: VOTE NOVEMBER 2023

Martin Public Schools Bond Extension: VOTE NOVEMBER 2023

We are hoping that this webpage will continually keep you updated and be a helpful tool in deciding your vote in November of 2023. Please take a look at the "Frequently Asked Questions" below that have been put together in order for you to better understand what it is that we are looking to do here at Martin Public Schools. You may always contact the district by phone (269-442-0500) or email the district ([email protected]) with any questions/concerns.
Here is a synopsis of what has happened so far in the process:
  • The Martin Public Schools Board of Education listened to several presentations from construction companies specializing in school bond assistance and oversite. The unanimous choice for overseeing Martin Public Schools bond extension bid was Christman Construction. The main reason for this is their willingness to look at the local trades to use as sub-contractors.
  • A kick-off meeting was held with staff to explain about the bond extension. The most important thing to remember is that this is not a millage/tax increase. It is an extension of the current bond and school taxes will not go up.
  • Three architectural firms presented to the school board orchestrated by Christman Construction. The unanimous choice by the board was Tower Pinkster.
  • Five meetings were scheduled and held with smaller groups of staff so as to gain an idea as to what everyone feels is needed in the district. All voices were heard and all ideas were compiled by Christman and Tower Pinkster. These ideas will be presented at the first Bond Forum Meeting mid-fall.
Why is this bond election necessary?
The primary purpose of this bond election is to upgrade the school facilities to include a retro-fitted air conditioning unit ventilators (air purifying system included) in every classroom. We now start school earlier and this has made it much more uncomfortable in the classrooms when the temperature is 80 degrees or higher outside. Several other possibilities (remember, NOTHING is in stone as yet) could be: pre-school and before & after school care; extending the cafeteria space so that all students can fit in the lunchroom separating elementary and MS/HS students; abating and replacing asbestos coverings over the exterior windows; video camera surveillance upgrades along with vape detectors; exterior door replacement; increase access controls; resurface parking lot; resurface/replace flooring/carpeting; bathroom upgrades in 6 bathrooms; replace outdated drinking fountains with filtered bottle fillers; band equipment and storage; upgraded internal security features. These are just some of the many, many ideas generated thus far. The entire list will be shared, prioritized by need and cost, then agreed upon by the Bond Committee (comprised of staff, community, parents & students) by consensus. We are looking at what YOU feel is needed, too, so nothing, at this point, is off the table.
How will the bond proposal affect my taxes?
If voters approve the bond proposal, the current tax rate will not change. There will be no tax rate increase. None. Zero!
What will happen if voters do not approve the bond proposal?
The proposed bond projects thus far cannot be addressed because they exceed the capacity of the general fund budget.
Will all bond proposal revenue stay in the Martin Public Schools?
Yes. All revenue from the bond proposal will stay in the Martin Public School District. None of the revenue will go to any other school district or political party. The bond funds can only be used for bond proposal projects and cannot be used for salaries.
If the bond proposal is approved by voters, will property values be affected?
Real estate values tend to be higher in communities with school districts that offer a quality education program and have up-to-date school facilities. Property values tend to be lower in communities that do not offer an adequate curriculum or that have schools that are out-of-date and poorly maintained. Remodeling and upgrading school buildings and facilities tends to protect the community's investment in the school district. In fact, all of Martin's bond proposal projects will be designed to reflect positively on homeowner property values and the community's reputation for being a well-run and desirable place to live.
What technology is included in the bond proposal?
Replacement of several classroom projectors; replacement of several Chromebook carts (we are on a 4-year replacement plan for these); fire alarm system replacement in half of the district (there are currently two systems cobbled together that do not talk to each other well and can go off at any time); public announcement system to replace the one we currently have that is over 20 years old to include a new bell system.
What is a bond proposal?
A bond is a state-approved funding process that specifies a set scope of projects. When voters approve a bond, the money specified in the bond proposal is borrowed and the school district makes payments over a period of years, much as a homeowner pays a mortgage. Bonds are usually issued for 20 to 30 years. This bond extension proposal will authorize the Martin Public Schools to issue a bond extension for capital project improvements. The proceeds from the sale of the bond(s) will be used to pay for the projects included in the bond proposal.
Bonds can be used to finance long-term assets such as:
    • Constructing new buildings
    • Constructing additions to existing buildings
    • Remodeling existing school buildings
    • Energy conservation improvements
    • Land purchases
    • Site development and improvements
    • Athletic and physical education facility development and improvements
    • Playground development and improvements
    • Refunding debt (if new present value savings can be demonstrated)
    • Direct bond program costs such as professional fees, election fees, issuance costs, qualification fees, insurance fees, final audit costs
    • Purchasing school buses 
    • Purchasing loose furnishings and equipment
    • Purchasing technology limited to hardware and communication devices that transmit, receive, or compute information for pupil instructional purposes only. The initial purchase of operating system and customized application software is allowed ONLY IF purchased with the initial hardware
Bonds cannot be used for:
    • Providing salaries, supplies, service contracts, lease payments, installment contracts
    • Making repairs, doing maintenance, or purchasing maintenance agreements
    • Purchasing automobiles, trucks or vans
    • Purchasing portable classrooms for temporary use
    • Purchasing uniforms or textbooks
    • Upgrading an existing computer operating system or application software
    • Providing computer training, computer consulting or computer maintenance contracts
Can any of the bond proposal funds be used for employee salaries or operating expenses?
No. Bond proposal funds cannot be used for staff wages, salaries, or operational costs. 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, so they must be audited.
Will taxes go down if I vote no?
Taxes will not go down if this bond proposal does not pass. Taxes will stay the same.
Will taxes go up if I vote yes?
Taxes will not go up if this bond proposal passes. Taxes will stay the same if this does pass. This bond proposal will extend the current bond out for four (4) to (6) years (depending on how much that is available is used) from 2046 to between 2050 to 2052 and will generate between $14.7 and 16.4 million dollars.
Roles and Responsibilities in a Bond Election Campaign
Conducting successful bond elections:
A school board's decision to put a bond levy on the ballot should trigger a number of district information and community-sponsored activities. These activities should involve a cross-section of key community members in the decision-making process, show voters the merits of the district's proposal, and help advocacy committees focus on methods of gaining voter support.
How can YOU help and how can YOU get involved?
There is a very important committee being assembled right now that will be instrumental in deciding what this bond extension will contain and how it will be presented to the community and to the state for approval. We need to have two co-chairs to spear-head the Martin Bond Committee. These co-chairs will set up meeting dates and times, keep track of the vital information discussed, post notes on social media sites for the community, and disseminate factual knowledge regarding the bond proposal and what it will serve to bring Martin Public Schools. 
The Martin Bond Committee needs to consist of people who are truly interested in what is best for our children, the employees of Martin Public Schools, and in what the community truly sees as an important factor in educating our children. This committee will be the one to put together the final plan for consideration to the Martin Public Schools Board of Education. Input needs to be gathered from as many stakeholders as possible in the voting community. Surveys will need to be put out to the public and the information then gathered and disaggregated so that all voices are heard. This process needs to be started immediately and will continue until the day after the November 2023 election process. Please contact Stacie Moelker at 269-442-0500 if you are interested in assisting with this process. THANK YOU!