On May 7, 2019, the Rockford community approved two proposals to address facility needs throughout the district and provide funds to promote collaborative learning and innovation in the classroom.

Rockford Public Schools operates 18 facilities with over 1.2 million square feet of space, on approximately 395 acres of sites. In 2016, the district began development of a 10-year master plan to assist with meeting the needs of our students and community.  To accommodate our student population in an innovative learning environment, voters in the Rockford Public School District were asked to consider the two proposals, which will generate the following revenue over the course of 10 years: 

  • Bond Proposal (expected 2.0 mills): $174 million
  • Sinking Fund Proposal (0.5 mill): $11 million

These funds will be generated while providing an expected net tax rate decrease of one mill to Rockford Public Schools property taxpayers:

CURRENT debt retirement millage 8.5 mills
July 2019 decrease in debt millage –3.5 mills
Bond proposal levy +2.0 mills
Sinking fund levy +0.5 mill
REVISED debt/sinking fund millage rate
(Expected net tax rate decrease of 1.0 mill to taxpayers)
7.5 mills

Sample tax impact

For the purpose of calculating a property tax adjustment, one mill is equal to one dollar per $1,000 of the taxable value of a home.  With the approval of both proposals, taxpayers will see an expected net tax rate decrease of one mill.

  Home Value Taxable Value Calculation for 1.0 mill net decrease
$200,000 $100,000 100 x 1.0 = $100
$300,000 $150,000 150 x 1.0 = $150
$400,000 $200,000 200 x 1.0 = $200

District Facility Expansions

  • New elementary – west side of district
  • Additional classrooms to address enrollment
    • Crestwood Elementary School
    • Roguewood Elementary School
    • North Rockford Middle School
    • Freshman Center

K-12 Innovative Learning Environment

  • Collaborative learning spaces and classroom furniture
  • Technology upgrades
  • STEAM/STEM program support
  • Media center upgrades

Capital Improvements

  • Co-curricular facility improvements
    • Field improvements
    • Pool upgrades
    • Rams Stadium upgrades
    • High school tennis court replacement and expansion
  • Transportation upgrades and bus fleet replacements
  • Elementary playground upgrades
  • Security system enhancements
  • Parking lot improvements and exterior site upgrades
  • Energy efficiency upgrades
  • Interior upgrades
  • Roof replacements

HOW THE DISTRICT DETERMINED THESE NEEDS

For the past two and a half years, the Board of Education collected feedback from various stakeholders to identify capital improvement, capacity, and classroom needs. This information was used to develop the district’s 10-year master plan, which was used to identify the scopes for the two ballot proposals.

WHAT THE MONEY WOULD BE USED FOR

The ballot proposals focus on three main areas: Innovative Learning Environments, District Facility Expansion, and Capital Improvements. A comprehensive list is included in the Proposed Projects Overview link above.

WHY THERE ARE TWO PROPOSALS

  • The Bond proposal would generate $174 million over 10 years to pay for long-term capital projects such as a new elementary school and building expansions, and would require an expected 2.0 mills initially to be levied over 30 years; and
  • The 0.5 mill Sinking Fund proposal would generate $11 million with no interest costs over 10 years to support district-wide capital improvement projects.
    Combined, these two proposals would generate the resources necessary to meet capital needs over the next 10 years.

HOW THE BOND ISSUE AND SINKING FUND PROPOSALS WILL BE STRUCTURED

The bond issue would be issued in three separate series over a 10-year construction period. Below is information on those dollar amounts and projects, as well as information on how sinking funds would be used. All three bond series would be retired within 30 years.

  • Proposed Bond Series 1 ($55 million). The first series would build a new elementary school, make improvements to the high school complex, high school pool upgrades, mechanical and building exterior upgrades, improvements to the transportation facility including partial replacement of the bus fleet, and technology and security upgrades.
  • Proposed Bond Series 2 ($81 million). The second series would expand North Rockford Middle School, Crestwood Elementary, and Roguewood Elementary; district-wide classroom furniture; elementary and middle school media center upgrades; enhancements for K-12 STEAM/STEM; mechanical and building exterior upgrades; partial replacement of the bus fleet; and technology and security upgrades.
  • Proposed Bond Series 3 ($38 million). The third series would include expansion at the Rockford Freshman Center and Rockford High School, high school and freshman center media center upgrades, elementary playground surfaces, mechanical and building exterior upgrades, partial replacement of the bus fleet, and technology and security upgrades.
  • Proposed Sinking Fund ($11 million). The sinking fund over 10 years, would be used to support mechanical (such as boilers, HVAC systems), building exteriors (such as roofs, windows, parking areas), and technology and security upgrades.

WHY YOUR TAX RATE IS DECREASING

The tax rate reduction is due to the Board of Education’s restructuring of the current bonds resulting in a 3.5 mills decrease in the debt millage. After thorough consideration, the Board of Education decided that the needs identified in the district’s 10-year master plan can be achieved through an expected 2.0-mill bond issue and a 0.5 mill sinking fund, which would result in an expected full 1.0 mill net reduction in property tax levies.  (See table above)

ROCKFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS BONDING PROPOSAL

Shall Rockford Public Schools, Kent County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed One Hundred Seventy-Four Million Dollars ($174,000,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of:

erecting, furnishing, and equipping a new elementary school building; erecting, furnishing and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, equipping and re-equipping, and furnishing and refurnishing school buildings; acquiring, installing, equipping or re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; purchasing school buses; and acquiring, preparing, erecting, developing, improving, and equipping playgrounds, play fields, athletic fields and facilities, and sites?

The following is for informational purposes only:
The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2019 is 3.01 mills ($3.01 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a 1.50 mills net decrease from the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds of any series may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is thirty (30) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.70 mills ($3.70 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds. The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $103,645,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $-0-. The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.

(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)

ROCKFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS SINKING FUND MILLAGE PROPOSAL

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Rockford Public Schools, Kent County, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed .5 mill ($0.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2019 to 2028, inclusive, to create a sinking fund for the purchase of real estate for sites for, and the construction or repair of, school buildings, for school security improvements, for the acquisition or upgrading of technology and all other purposes authorized by law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2019 is approximately $958,957.

The general public is invited to attend any of the following informational meetings

Secondary (Grades 6-12) Parents Monday, March 4 9:00 am RFC LGI
Meadow Ridge Parents Thursday, March 7 6:30 pm Meadow Ridge
Cannonsburg Parents Tuesday, March 12 6:30 pm Cannonsburg
Belmont Parents Wednesday, March 13 7:00 pm Belmont
Community Expo Booth Saturday, March 16 9:00 am – 3:00 pm RHS
Parkside Parents Monday, March 18 6:30 pm Parkside
RHS Fine Arts Boosters Wednesday, March 20 7:00 pm RHS LGI
Lakes Parents Thursday, March 21 7:00 pm Lakes
Crestwood Parents Wednesday, April 10 5:30 pm Crestwood
General Public Meeting Thursday, April 11 6:30 pm North RMS Auditorium
Boosters – Athletic Monday, April 15 7:00 pm RHS LGI
Roguewood Parents Tuesday, April 23 9:30 am Roguewood
Valley View Parents Wednesday, April 24 6:30 pm Valley View

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 7, 2019, and voting will take place at your municipal polling location.  Please contact your township/city clerk if you have questions about your assigned precinct and location.

Township/City Precinct # Precinct Location
Algoma Township
866-1583
1 & 2 Algoma Baptist Church – Gymnasium, 10515 Grange Ave NE
3 Kent County Road Commission – North, 11723 White Creek Ave
Clerks Office
866-1583
4 & 5 Resurrection Life Church, 3233 – 10 Mile Rd
Cannon Township
874-6966
1 West Cannon Baptist Church, 5760 Cannonsburg Rd
2 & 3 Bella Vista Church, 5100 Belding Rd
4 Cannon Township Center, 6878 Belding Road NE
5 Bostwick Lake Congregational Church, 7979 Belding Road NE
6 Crossroads Wesleyan Church, 8331 Myers Lake Ave
City of Rockford
866-1537
1 & 2 City of Rockford, City Hall, 7 Monroe St
Courtland Township
866-0622
1 Courtland Fire Station #2, 9535 Myers Lake Ave
2 Rockford Springs Community Church, 5815 – 14 Mile Rd
3 Courtland Township Hall, 7450 – 14 Mile Rd
Grattan Township
691-8450
1 Grattan Township Hall, 12050 Old Belding Rd
2 Fire Station, 12134 Old Belding Rd
Oakfield Township
754-5679
1 Oakfield Township Hall, 10300 – 14 Mile Rd
Plainfield Township
364-8466
1 Plainfield Township Office, 6161 Belmont Ave
Clerks Office
726-8884
6 Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, 6727 Kuttshill Dr
10 Assumption BVM Catholic Church, 6390 Belmont Ave
11 Tribes Church, 6070 Kuttshill Dr

Should you have any questions regarding your assigned polling location, please contact your local township/city clerk.

VOTER REGISTRATION

To vote in the May 7, 2019 regular election, voters must be registered by mail by April 22, 2019, or may register in person with their local township/city clerk between April 23 and May 7, 2019.

ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Absentee ballots will be available from your local township/city clerk on or before March 23, 2019.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BALLOT ISSUES

Please call the Rockford Public Schools Administration Office at 616-863-6320 if you have questions about the ballot proposals or would like additional information.

Informational webpage paid for by the Rockford Public Schools, 350 N. Main Street, Rockford, MI 49341