DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Voters in both Rapid River and Gladstone will be asked to approve a school bond issue when they go to the polls on August 2.
Both communities are asking for the ability to sell municipal bonds to finance things like capitol improvements, infrastructure repairs, technology, transportation and sports facilities, just to name a few. Gladstone is asking to sell just under $48 million in bonds, while Rapid River is seeking a little over $12 million with no increase in taxes.
“Michigan is one of only five states in the nation where all of the infrastructure costs are borne by the district,” said Dr. Jay Kulbertis, Superintendent of both Rapid River and Gladstone school districts. “So we get state funds for the instruction piece, but anything that’s infrastructure, we have to go to our community and to our voters.”
Since the bond proceeds cannot be used for salaries, general operating expenses, or educational programming, more money will then be available from the general fund for educational pursuits and student development.
“That’s a lot of what this is, is really forward thinking, taking a look at what do we need now,” said Dr. Kulbertis. “What do we want to do to get better, but really, how do we want to ensure a stable future so that we’ll have state of the art facilities? We’ll have awesome educational opportunities. We’ve got flexibility down the road, and then it’ll be smooth financial ceiling for our taxpayers, because they know they’re never going to pay a higher tax rate than what they’ve been paying”.
Dr. Kulbertis also points out that bonds will not be sold until the funds are needed, thus saving money on interest. With a ten year life span, bond proceeds will be in place for technological advancements in the future.
“Do we need to talk about electric charging stations and electric vehicles,” said Dr. Kulbertis. “Well, right now that technology isn’t something that we would purchase right now. But five years from now, we’re going to need to take another look at it. Eight years from now, it might be something that makes a lot of sense.”
If the proposals don’t pass, most households will save less than 5 dollars a month.