With 73 percent support, voters last week approved Ann Arbor Public Schools $33 million dollar bond proposal. The Board of Education has now authorized the sale of the first series of bonds. Last night’s unanimous vote approves the sale of up to $38 million because it includes the first phase of the 2015 bond plan as well as the second phase of the 2012 technology bond plan.
Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Marios Demetriou says there are a couple of advantages from selling the bonds together. “You incur the cost once, verse selling them twice, also in this low interest environment we want to get it done as soon as possible,” Demetriou says.
The initial phase of the 2015 millage plan includes the sale of over $27 million in bonds. These funds are dedicated to classroom furniture upgrades, school entrance security improvements, school bus purchases, musical instrument acquisitions and repairs, and new playgrounds.
Demetirou says 85 percent of the funds raised from this bond sale must be spent within the next three years. He says they haven’t determined when the second round of bond sales from this year’s plan will be sold.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says work on creating a comprehensive action plan for this year’s bond is underway. She says the district wants volunteers to serve as bond advisors. “We will soon be inviting wide groups of individuals who care about portions of this bond to serve on advisory teams. We will have students, parents, teachers, and other community members for each area of the bond,” Swift says.
The district will also provide comprehensive information on how money from the 2015 bond plan is being spent. Swift says the goal is to let all community members check in any time, any place on the progress of the bond plan.
It’s the first phase of this year’s bond plan, but round two for the 2012 technology bond. The sale of about $10.5 million in bonds will pay for refreshing computers, tablets, and other tech gear as it becomes outdated. Demetirou says the third round of tech bonds will be sold in 2018. About $8 million will remain for the final phase of the 2012 tech bond plan.