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Just the Facts: Brighton Area Schools $88.4 Million Bond Issue

Everything you need to know before the May 8 election.

Brighton Area Schools are for the upcomming May 8 election.

Here's an up close look at what this bond would mean to the school district and to taxpayers.

How long will the bond last?

Brighton Area Schools submitted an application for a 30-year-bond, to be distributed in two tiers. The second tier will be issued three years after the first, so the bond will really last 33 years.

What will the bond do?

The bond will improve a number of different things within the district:

Technology upgrades include

  • Wireless networks
  • New computers
  • Interactive classroom technology
  • Multi-media presentation technologies
  • Security technology

Athletic facilities upgrades include

  • Rebuild stadium with artificial turf, track, bleachers, team rooms and concessions
  • Two new high school multi-sport/band practice fields
  • New track and field at
  • Repurpose existing pool to new fitness center
  • Build new community pool

Brighton Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) upgrades include

  • Replace obsolete sound and lighting systems
  • Refurbish stage flooring
  • Refurbish balcony seating
  • Replace stage curtains

Safety upgrades include

  • Security vestibules at all schools
  • Separate bus/parent traffic
  • Upgrade elementary playgrounds
  • Replace aging fire alarm/exit systems
  • Security cameras

Critical infrastructure and program upgrades include

  • Remodel aging restrooms
  • Replace asphalt paving, improving safety
  • Replace obsolete equipment: chalkboards, classroom cabinets, lockers and student desks
  • New gym addition at Hawkins Elementary
  • Replace aging plumbing, heating, ventilating equipment, roofing, select worn flooring and select exterior windows and doors

How much will it cost?

The bond issue would increase Brighton Area Schools' current millage by 1.49 mills, or $1.49 on each $1,000 of taxable value.

Market Value Taxable Value Annual Cost Monthly Cost Daily Cost $100,000 $50,000 $74.50 $6.21 $0.20 $200,000 $100,000 $149.00 $12.42 $0.41 $300,000 $150,000 $223.50 $18.63 $0.61

*These figures are estimates provided by Brighton Area Schools. For your specific tax impact, use Brighton Area Schools' online tax calculator.

For more information on the bond issue, visit www.brightonk12.mi.us.

J. Michael Lenninger April 24, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Hi bright res and a BAS supporter and concerned tax payer. Just found the audio files online for the last two public "hearings" on the bond proposal, so if you didn't attend the discussions and Q&A sessions and have about 90 minutes, go here: http://www.brightonk12.com/district.cfm?subpage=1477857 There are also pdfs of posters and powerpoint presentations. Did you know that some of the cost includes re-wiring all of the failing fire alarm systems in some of the schools that are now failing? That's a public safety issue.
bright res April 24, 2012 at 06:26 PM
@J. Michael. Thank you, I will listen to this. I've been following the issue, and it seems to me that the amount of money they are asking for is far in excess of what is needed. I'm 100% in favor of the kinds of fixes you mention. Those are a far cry from returfing a football field, scrapping a pool, etc. The board could have asked for far less money to get these kinds of things done, and I would support them fully. 88 Million, J. Michael. That's a whole lot of coin for computers, and wires.
J. Michael Lenninger April 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Found out by listening to the tapes of the public forum why they chose May 8 for the bond millage proposal. If they wait to do it later, the millage rate would DOUBLE according to how it's calculated based on the last 5 years' worth of estimated home values in the Brighton area. There's $1.5 Billion in the Michigan School Bond Program to borrow from. Now is the BEST time to approve and vote on this proposal. It's 1.49 mils. And we can re-finance the bond and pay it down more quickly this way and save the school district money. Yes, the Superintendent is being VERY fiscally responsible. Listen for more...
J. Michael Lenninger April 24, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Another thing I was mistaken about is the millage is that it is a FIXED rate over 30 years. With other programs, the rate can fluctuate with the economy. So, if the estimated home values go down in Brighton, you end up paying more! If the estimated home values go up, yes, you would pay less. But it's easier to manage your household budget if it's a fixed rate with the School Bond Loan Fund. I'm now leaning more toward approval after listening to these recordings. Dr. Gray is a smart man who is trying to do the right thing. And he has a dog in this hunt with a 6th grader trying to navigate between parked cars and buses at Maltby Intermediate during parent drop-off.
George Mc Connell April 25, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Dr. Gray is a smart man???.....trying to do the right thing??? Spending another 88.4 MILLION of taxpayers hard earned money for some very dubious "wants" still leaves me scratching my head. He seems to be cut from the same cloth as our current President....SPEND, SPEND , SPEND. I am not convinced by all the spin Michael....the city of Brighton will not only survive if this huge spending bond fails...it will be better off it does fail. We do NOT need tax increases now. Go back to the drawing board and come up with what is really needed for the Schools....nobody will quibble with safety needs...but a new swimming pool??? 'cmon!
Nate Warner April 25, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Sir, I too was in a position of being able to claim that my day time job prevented me from attending. However, if I were to claim this as the main reason, I would also recognize that this was truly an excuse. If I were instead to say, "I've pretty much made up my mind already." Why then I'd be being more honest with anyone listening. I do know that writing off all sessions based on my previous interpretations might be a valid method of improving my efficiency, but again, mainly due to the fact that I've already made up my mind. I further offer that if someone is willing to attend with an open open mind, I suspect that a straight up comment of "it's no use" might not appropriate. Key point is an open mind. If I attended with a closed mind, there'd be no point. If our mind is already made up, it's worth noting that to others we are trying to convince; it's a valid data point in the decision making process. (My own mind is already made up, too: I will vote YES for many reasons. If you've read my other comments, you know them already. If not, I appreciate your time to go back and read them now. Thank you!)
Nate Warner April 25, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Mr. Lenninger and I agree!!! Well, at least that employer has nothing to do with personal position. Let's also remember that when we accuse those who work for "liberal" companies of being liberal and considering this proved by the fact that they work for "that" type of company. Employer does NOT define personal beliefs and may in fact hafve nothing to do with them.
Nate Warner April 25, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Mr. Mc Connell, I wish you hadn't brought politics into this matter so strongly. I think that is another topic that would divide the voters in a different manner. Since I feel this way, I will avoid your political comments and stick to the others. "_Dr._ Gray is a smart man???" (emphasis added) Yes. Show me how his doctorate makes him less than a smart man and I may believe you. (I've personally always believed that a doctorate does not make the intelligence, but it is a good indicator of it. In the same way, the lack of one does not make a LACK of intelligence, but just means that it is unproven in a collegiate/academic setting.) Please provide evidence of your accusations, sir. I am unconvinced by your "arguments".
Nate Warner April 25, 2012 at 04:19 AM
This "conversation" has devolved to a series of comments by 2 or 3 or 4 people. It seems to no longer serve the purpose I hoped for: honest discussion with open minds toward a generally acceptable consensus. Therefore, I withdraw. If someone else finds value, please enjoy it as such. I wish you well.
George Mc Connell April 25, 2012 at 04:49 AM
As to your viewpoint on the value of a Doctorate degree....we have an area of agreement...holding that piece of paper does not denote intelligence. As for the value of further debate....I also totaly agree Nate....most debates do boil down to one of two choices. I will, like you, decline further comment...and pray that the good voters of Brighton will make a sound decision regarding raising ALL of our taxes for this upcoming Bond....I still say vote NO on this Bond...too many "wants" vs. "needs" to justify the high costs.....regardless of what degree the author of the Bond holds.
Jack - Support Local April 25, 2012 at 02:17 PM
@Nate Sorry, I have limited time off and while this issue is important and I'd like to learn as much as I can, I'm saving the time for more personally important things. I have an open mind which is why I continue to learn what I can and ask questions (to which no one has ever really responded BTW) but I've been to several board meetings and sessions over the years and rarely find them worth the time. Rather I can get the same info outside in a more efficient manner.
Jack - Support Local April 25, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Still no response to the numbers. I'm asking because I want to understand it. For all the PRO opinions here I'd think someone would/could offer a response. I will continue to do research on my own.
Jack - Support Local April 25, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Disagreement does not mean a closed mind for those of us currently more against than for....same as I wouldn't say you have a closed mind for not considering my side. I've asked questions about numbers and get no response, only more comments about needing it. This thread has devolved into more show than go, that's the problem. I'd like to continue an intelligent discussion with facts but this is mainly just opinions and +1's.
J. Michael Lenninger April 25, 2012 at 04:22 PM
@George Mc Connell: I agree we can't continue to spend, spend, spend. But I trust Dr. Gray -- he is sincere, honest and responsive. Past administrations did NOT set up a continuing maintenance bond - one of the things Dr. Gray asked about when he first was appointed. Judging from his comments and the answers to the questions asked by citizens at the public forums, I believe this issue has been thoroughly researched and well thought out. Yeah, there may be a few frivolous things thrown in. I would be willing to pay $300 annually if I get FREE access to a private gym and heated pool for exercise. But I'm sure I'm going to have to pay to play. Through benign neglect, ineffective management and countless battles over budgets, (while approving a deficit budget every year), we've let our public school facilities deteriorate almost to the point beyond recovery. I feel our current BSA leadership are being good stewards of our taxes. We need more discerning opinions. But this forum is not necessarily the place to get solid answers, just more rhetoric. Go to the source! Ask Dr. Gray and the unpaid consultants (who get paid NOTHING if this bond millage does not pass). I'm still leaning more toward voting YES on the bond, unless someone can provide a convincing argument why it would be best to wait. Now, who wants to open a can of worms to discuss teachers' salaries, benefits, curriculum and tenure?
Patrickandlynn April 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
My taxes will go up $500 / year for 33 years ($16,500) and my kids don't even go to Brighton schools and we don't use the community pool. I certainly don't begrudge the school system the taxes I already pay, however if the school system cant live within its means, than budget cuts need to be made, just like tax payers do every day. I cant imagine the average tax payer planing a major remodel for their home and expecting their neighbor to pay for it because they are broke. This needs to be voted down. Where can I get Vote No signs?
J. Michael Lenninger April 25, 2012 at 05:04 PM
@Patrickandlynn: This bond is about to expire, so this replaces it. Would have wished they would have just extended the present millage, but evidently it won't cover all that is needed and this way they can borrow the money at a low interest rate to maintain the buildings. Gives them more flexibility.
Kristin Lehnertz Lovill April 25, 2012 at 06:40 PM
This is quite simply a necessary investment in the economic health of our community. Schools are the largest reason people choose to purchase a home where they do. We absolutely NEED to try to be an attractive place to live and spend money. Otherwise, we continue to stagnate (as we are currently doing) and become the next Detroit, with residents leaving and reducing the economic strength of the community. That is not acceptable. And in a small community such as ours (mainly families) and as large a presence as the BAS has in here (didn't I read that they are the #2 employer?) we absolutely need to fight against another negative impact that Brighton will suffer if we do not become "attractive" to families looking to move here. We will lose them and their incomes and spending dollars to neighboring communities that have wisely invested in the growth and prosperity of their schools. The BAS is not the same BAS it was 5 years ago - far from it. Dr Gray has the leadership skills and "down to brass tacks" attitude that we so desperately needed, and it is time to respond as taxpayers, investing in our community. The families and businesses of Brighton need it now. Vote YES.
Kristin Lehnertz Lovill April 25, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Please read the Bond Application (http://bas.k12.mi.us/district.cfm?subpage=1477857) and you will see exactly what this money will be used for. A whole lot more than just computers and wires. And the pool and football field are only a small portion of the proposed improvements, but anyone with a degree in marketing will tell you "window dressing" is often as important as the content! I strongly believe we all are selling our community to people, hoping that they chose to live here, and spend their money. Ask a local area business if they've needed some help with sales! Also consider how much money it really does cost to run a whole school district. I'm sure the vast majority of us have never really looked at those costs, and this information really opened my eyes.
b.res April 26, 2012 at 01:12 PM
I've heard it all now. Don't you know? If we don't buy our kids a pool Brighton is going to look like Detroit in a few years? @Kristin - You are really missing the point here. I bet the majority of people who are opposed to *THIS* bond, would support one for half the cost, that focuses solely on maintenance and technology. Scranton doe not NEED a football field, and this community does not NEED a swimming pool. One of the MANY factors that sank Detroit was high taxation and poor choices by the school board as to how to spend those taxes. Sound familiar? I bet every parent in Detroit would jump at the chance to build a community pool if they thought that was all it was going to take to save their city. Stop fear-mongering. I challenge anyone to go out and look at home sales. How long are homes staying on the market in this community RIGHT NOW? (Without a new pool). This FEAR that people are feeding you is absurd. Brighton will remain attractive if the bond doesn't pass.
J. Michael Lenninger April 26, 2012 at 02:41 PM
@b.res: Buy our kids a pool? Boy does that bring back memories. We moved here from Florida in 2006 and one of the first things my wife wanted to do over the summer was buy the kids a pool. An above ground pool. Why? Because HER parents had an in-ground pool when she was growing up in Brighton and attending BHS. Lots of kids came over to the house. Maybe they also liked that fact that her parents owned an ice cream parlor. Shrug. So we bought a pool. What a fool was I! Filled it up with well water. Big mistake. Too much rust in the water. After many chemical treatments and filtering, the water was semi-clear. But the weather wasn't co-operating. It was a very mild summer. The kids got into the pool ONCE. Too cold! They immediately got out. And so we wasted our investment. I don't think a large, heated pool for our kids will be a wasted investment. We will have many, many residents lining up to use it every day. And many scuba training classrooms will occur as well. and Water Safety Instruction courses. It will be a boon to the local community, not a boondoggle. Everybody into the pool - please shower before entering. Now
b.res April 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM
@ J.Michael. Sorry for your troubles! However, I'm certain your kids can enjoy the pool we already have if someone would bother to update it, and maintain it. This is the point.
invested resident April 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Spot on brigt res. Brighton has a lot to offer. The pie is only so big. We need to make the most out of & enjoy what we already have. If that's not enough for some let them add topping to their slice at their own expense. These are not affluent times. Nothing wrong with a "pay to play" approach to things. Besides none of us are prevented from cutting a check at our own discrestion to support others as we see fit.
Jack - Support Local May 04, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I'm kind of surprised there has been no more discussion but I guess as numbers come up it becomes more fact than opinion and that leads to quiet. Seems BAS is not interested in renting out any of the athletic faciliities (fields, etc) to some clients I've learned. As a Brighton resident who pays taxes to support these facilities it's disturbing that my kids cannot use the facilities. Definitely voting no and then I'll write a check for the annual bond amount to support my kids programs.
C.J- Current student May 05, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Hello, My name is C.J. a current student at BHS. I play football for this community and I can and will tell you these athletic facilities need updated. Its pretty bad that our homecoming game almost got cancelled and almost moved to Howell due to how bad our field is. One a normal day on that field you can sink your foot in about 6 inches in mud. You don't even want to know how bad it is on a rainy day. Not only that but building a football field at Scranton would be super beneficial. We have two different football programs in Brighton. The BYF Bulldogs and the BJF Dawgs. BJF has four levels with three teams at each level. That comes out to twelve teams. The BYF has 4 levels and one team a piece. If they both play games at home on a weekend that is 16 games in one weekend on an already bad field. Not only to mention we have youth lacrosse that is played there too. If we have two fields it will ease the destruction on the fields. Next subject the tennis court. Have you ever tried to play on it? Cracks all over the place. Try playing a bounce off of one of those, good luck. Next subject, the pool. The pool is so outdated that the paint comes off in the water and to clean it we need a crazy amount of chlorine. This was the first year I have ever seen our swimmers hair turn a weird shade of grey. I was told it was inspected and that it wasn't a pool we could swim in anymore with out being harmfully affected. Therefore, they want to make the pool a new fitness center.
C.J- Current student May 05, 2012 at 04:27 AM
That is utilization. Instead of buliding a totally new fitness center lets make the pool room one! Great idea. Now the fitness center, The highschools fitness center is a 30x15 room. Picture a room that is a rectangle with five bench sets and 4 squat racks. That's what it is. oh and the floor is those padded mats that you used to play with as a kid that kinda form together like a big puzzle. Thats the floor so thanks Brighton parents for the support. And seriously you guys are childish for bringing politics into the matter. Seriously? Come on
Brenda Plank May 05, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I'm voting yes!
just saying October 02, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@ Cj... Good job for stating your thoughts:)! After the vote this year announced that BYF and BJF have to merge into one. Two private orgs that are paid by the parents. Now, they Must merge together. Why? Because we have been screwed by the Bond. I never voted! Now let's see if my BYF football players and cheerleader to win superbowls and comps?! With out having a HS prep organization for 2013? Just thought it was interesting to share the aftermath... for 2 volunteered programs got screwed ~ one angry parent!
Nicole Krawcke (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Thanks for your comment. I was not aware the two football programs had merged. I would like to learn more, can you either email me at nicole.krawcke@patch.com or give me a call at 517-488-5886?
J. Michael Lenninger October 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I also hear that many verbal promises made to concerned parents on exactly how some of the money would be spent concerning renovations to BHS are not going to happen without a large hue and cry!
CJ Burroughs October 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM
@just saying.. My father Charles Burroughs is a coach at the freshman level for BYF. I've heard it all. Look, this is not the bonds fault. It was Dr. Grey asking Bill Piercy (BYF president) to merge into one organization. Not very many people are happy about it. I am proud to say I know Bill Piercy on a personal level. He is a friend of mine. This city wide program is a step forward not back. I know BYF prides itself on traveling out toward Wayne County and playing the teams in that area. They are very good teams over there ,but we do not compete against them very often at the high school level. If the kids and coaches all come together, city wide, we will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future, not to say we already aren't. So the bond is already passed so we might as well take things positively and move on like Dr. Grey has intended :)

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