Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
General Information

What is the focus of the May 4, 2021 bond proposal?

The focus of the bond proposal addresses the District’s four bond pillars: safety & security, critical infrastructure, learning environments, and innovation. The proposed plan includes updating aging building infrastructure district-wide, and reduces the number of transitions from school to school. It would also allow the District to strategically address declining student enrollment by retiring the oldest school building.

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  • Addressing safety and security with proposed improvements including new secure building entrances, new door hardware, and traffic flow in drop-off and pick-up areas

  • Upgrading classroom furniture and reimagining playgrounds

  • Updating building infrastructure that is at or past its useful life cycle to address aging facility issues district-wide

  • Reconstructing two new TK-5 elementary schools, Dimondale and Sycamore, on their current site locations

  • Removing Hope Middle School as a school building

  • Reconfiguring existing elementary buildings to accommodate grades TK-5; including possible classroom additions, and gym additions

  • New classroom addition to Washington Woods to create grades 6-8 school; cafeteria expansion

  • Converting the Junior High to grades 6-8 school

  • Classroom addition to High School to bring 12th grade into the building

  • Selective Athletics and Performing Arts Improvements

  • North Campus transitions to Innovation Center for expanded educational programming

How can I request a district representative to speak at a neighborhood, service club or business organization meeting?

Please contact Dr. David G. Hornak, Superintendent, by phone at 517-694-5715 or via email at dhornak@hpsk12.net.

What if I have more questions?

Please submit all questions using the form on the Contact page.

Why a bond proposal now?

  • It is time to invest in the Elementary level

    • The previous bond proposal focused primarily on building a new High School, while providing less funds to update the other school buildings.

  • The current financial position for a net tax rate decrease for property owners, while still providing funds for capital improvements

  • Bring schools up to current educational facility standards

    • In 2018-2019 the Holt Board of Education hired a team to conduct a facility assessment and staff contributed to the assessment through a survey. Board of Education reviewed the completed facilities assessment report. A summary showed the District needed $61 million to modernize our facilities. That number did not include air conditioning, technology upgrades or improvements to the learning environments. During the facility planning, the steering committee identified additional opportunities to improve the educational experience for students, staff, and community members.

    • For more information and to view the 2018-2019 facilities assessment, visit the district's Facility Operations page.

    • The district operates 11 school buildings that range in age from 18 to 86 years old. Although these buildings have undergone additions and renovations over the years, all schools haven’t seen significant upgrades in 18 years, since the last bond projects were completed. A recent facilities assessment identified specific systems that have exceeded their expected lifecycle(s) – lighting, roofing, HVAC, etc. If the bond proposal is approved, it would include replacement of the identified systems.

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Who was involved in determining what to include in the bond proposal?

Initial bond planning started with a detailed facility assessment to identify critical infrastructure needs, coupled with an internal list developed by district administration and operations staff. District directors, building principals, staff, the Community Task Force, and The Holt Equity and Access Team (H.E.A.T.) were engaged during a series of forums, staff interviews, open community forums and surveys to help provide input, review, and prioritize the scope of the bond proposal. The final determination of scope was be made by District administration and the Board of Education.

Where can I find more information about this bond proposal?​

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Bond Proposal Details

How would the bond impact students?

  • By reducing the number of transitions from school to school, students would be spending a longer period of time with staff, enabling deeper, more trusting relationships with school staff, improving student mental and emotional wellness.

  • New technology and infrastructure would enable students and staff to have easy access to innovative learning opportunities with updated devices and equipment.

  • New classroom furniture would enable teachers to provide instruction that focuses on active and collaborative learning. It would also allow for flexibility of classroom configuration and movement for students.

  • Creating more equitable resources throughout the District by constructing new elementary schools on both ends of the District and by bringing schools to similar educational space standards.

 

When would the proposed construction take place?​

If the bond proposal is approved on May 4, 2021, the initial construction projects would begin in Spring 2022. ​

 

The bonds would be sold in multiple series, with early emphasis on elementary and early childhood renovation projects (HVAC, lighting, playgrounds, furniture and security improvements).  Once those projects are complete, the District will focus on the reconstruction of the Sycamore and Dimondale buildings on their current sites.  The later series of bond will focus on improving the middle school and high school facilities, with an emphasis on realigning Washington Woods and the current Junior High to support 6-8 students and bringing the twelfth-grade students back into the Main Campus facility.​

This sequence was selected in an effort to prioritize work at the elementary facilities. With the exception of Horizon Elementary, many of these buildings haven’t received significant upgrades since the 1990s. This sequence will also reduce a transition for the District’s younger learners by bringing fifth grade students back into the elementary buildings. ​We anticipate that it would take 8 years to complete the renovations and new construction work, with the final projects finishing in 2029.​

How is construction managed to mitigate risk and disruption to school communities, especially staff and students?  

                        

Student and staff safety is always the highest priority. The Construction Management team will work collaboratively with Holt Public Schools to develop building specific site safety plans to ensure that the concerns of all stakeholders are identified and addressed. This will include a clear delineation of the construction site with signage, fencing barriers and temporary walls as needed to keep separate from staff and student spaces. Construction activities generating noise and/or dust that could disrupt the educational environment will be scheduled to take place while the school is not operational.  

 

 

Would students be displaced during new building construction?  

 

If the bond proposal is passed, the design process will determine the best location of each new building. The project team, including Architect and Construction Manager, will collaboratively work with the district to develop final design and scope of work which will include development of a detailed construction programming schedule. From the schedule, a construction sequencing plan will be designed, through close collaboration with the district, building by building which will focus on safety first, then aim to minimize impact on school activities and the educational environment while also accommodating efficiency of budget. 

 

There are several potential sequencing scenarios:  

  • New construction on school property that does not overlap with the current footprint would not be expected to interfere with educational programming. 

  • Old buildings that are subsequently vacated by relocating students to their new building can either be demolished or used for swing space.  

  • Swing space allows the district to relocate a population of students temporarily while construction takes place in the areas typically occupied by students and staff. Swing space may be a temporary addition to an existing building or may be a vacated property the district owns. 

  • Construction may be sequenced within an existing building to be completed "one wing at a time" and relocate students from old space to new space in a phased timeline.  

 

In all possible scenarios of construction sequencing, student and staff safety are of utmost priority. All necessary site separations will be fully maintained. Logistical concerns will be addressed in collaboration with the district to achieve a minimal impact to educational programming. Additional considerations will be made to maximize efficiency of timeline and budget where possible.  

Why does the proposal include fewer transitions for students?

One of the core functions of a school district is organizing students into grade configurations, which have the potential to impact student outcomes, improve student behaviors, positively impact relationships and sense of belonging, and produce high-quality humans. While there are a wide variety of ways to configure a school system, Hyman (2015) stated that transitioning from one school to another can have a negative impact on student achievement. Furthermore, Malaspina and Rimm-Kaufman (2008) reported that school transitions might be more severe for students in specific demographic backgrounds, at-risk, and special education students.  

 

The longer a student attends the same school, generally higher achievement occurs (Fisher, 2019). Bouchard and Berg (2017) described a sense of belonging as being known, valued, and feeling included. In the Holt Public Schools strategic plan (located at www.hpsk12.net), our students' relationships, social, emotional, physical well-being, and academic needs have been prioritized. Students have articulated the importance of belonging to a school (Bouchard & Berg, 2017). Also, a sense of belonging has an impact on achievement (Laldin, 2016).

 

A component of the Holt Public Schools proposal is reconfiguring the District and removing two transitions from the educational experience. 

  • Maintaining Midway Early Learning Center (Pre-K) Programming

  • Transitions all elementary schools to grades TK-5  

  • Transitions middle schools & Junior High to grades 6-8 

  • Transitions High School to grades 9-12 

  • Allows the District to strategically address declining student enrollment by retiring the oldest school building 

  • Develops an Innovation Center in the North Campus focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) as well as College Access, and Career and Technical Education

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Research shows that reducing the number of times that a student goes to a new building helps with student outcomes. When a student stays in one building for a longer period of time, they create stronger relationships and feel safer and more comfortable in their learning environment. In this type of environment students are more engaged and a typical result is improved student outcomes. We chose the configuration of TK-5, 6-8 and 9-12 to minimize transitions while supporting curriculum that is designed for the same structures. This will create a more fluid environment for teachers to work together when the curriculum is designed for the same grade levels in those buildings.

Approximately 15 years ago, we moved grade 5 students out of the elementary schools. How will we move students back into the elementary schools and why is this beneficial to student outcomes?

 

In 2014, Midway became our early learning center, due to declining enrollment that continues today. We moved our preschool students to Midway. The goal of this was to educate our youngest students and help them be fully prepared for school prior to entering our elementary buildings. Midway Early Learning Center will continue to be an early childhood center in the new configuration, including preschool students.

 

By 2026, Holt Public Schools expects enrollment to decrease by over 400 students, which is the population of an elementary school. Based on this information and minimal construction expansions at some buildings, the grade 5 students will fit back into our elementary buildings. The projection of decreased enrollment also helped Holt Public Schools make the decision to close Hope Middle School. Facilities assessment revealed that Hope would be one of the most costly to renovate and bring up to current educational standards. Hope would have been one of the most difficult to implement safe pick up and drop off and to retrofit new systems like air conditioning, etc. Although renovations have been made to Hope, the core of the structure is beyond its lifecycle. With the decision to close Hope, grade 5 students will move to the elementary buildings and grade 6 students will move to the junior high school.

 

From a student transition standpoint, the TK-5, 6-8, and 9-12 structure makes sense as curriculum is structured in PreK5, 6-8 and 9-12 format. Having grade 5 students in the elementary schools and grade 6 students at the junior high will create a more fluid environment for teachers to work together. This reconfiguration will reduce transitions for students between buildings which creates better relationships and improves student outcomes.

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The high school was built in 2003 to hold three grades 10-12. In 2013, Holt moved freshman students to the main campus and senior students to the North Campus. Can you help us understand how the district will be able to fit all four grades into the high school?

We have projected that our student enrollment in 2026 will decrease by over 400 students. A classroom addition is also planned at the high school. With these projections, the additional classrooms and re-establishing the North Campus as our Innovation Center that can be used by several grades, we could have core classes and many electives in the high school. Flexible learning spaces will be important in our new structure.

 

Why did the district choose to retire Hope in this proposal?

For decades, Hope has served generations of Holt Public children. The time has come to retire the building as a school facility. While the building has undergone renovations and additions in the past, the core structure and systems of the building are well-past their expected lifecycles. Additionally, Holt Public Schools student enrollment has decreased and is projected to continue decreasing over the next five years. The facilities assessment revealed that Hope would be one of the most costly to renovate and bring up to current educational standards. The existing site would have been one of the most difficult to implement safe pick up and drop off and it would be cost prohibitive to retrofit the building with new systems like air conditioning, etc.

 

For those reasons, the District has planned to not invest in renovations or improvements to Hope Middle School as a part of this bond proposal and plans to remove Hope as a school building. Taking Hope Middle School off-line would happen after improvements have been made to the elementary schools, Washington Woods, and the Junior High.

If the bond is approved by voters, when would the district retire Hope?

If the bond is approved by voters, Hope would be the very last step in the bond series and would likely be active for 8 more years. This means current 4th grade students would be seniors. The district would seek input from the community regarding what happens with Hope after it retires as a school building. 

 

When would the millage for this proposal first be levied?

On the December 1, 2021 property tax bill.

 

Are technology purchases going to be amortized over a 26-year period? Is there a technology replacement plan?

Technology purchases are required to be amortized over a 5-year period beginning at the time of installation. Yes, each bond series has an allowance for future technology purchases and updates.

 

Are bus purchases going to be amortized over a 26-year period?

No. Bus purchases are required to be amortized over a 6-year period beginning at the time the buses are put into service.

Would I be able to provide input regarding the design of the buildings?

 

Yes. If the bond proposal is approved, the community will have the opportunity to participate in the final planning, design, and implementation of the school expansions and improvements. A small committee for each building would be created for stakeholders to participate and provide input and feedback.

What oversights would hold the district accountable?

If approved by voters, the district’s Architect/Engineer would design the proposed projects and prepare construction documents and specifications for the projects. Once the projects are designed, the district’s Construction Manager will assemble bid packages and publicly advertise to solicit competitive bids for all work. This is required by law, as outlined in the Revised School Code. This process ensures that the district selects the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. All qualified contractors will have an opportunity to attend a pre-bid meeting to obtain additional information and project clarification. All qualified contractors will have the opportunity to participate in the competitive bid process.

At what point would the State of Michigan, as well as the local fire and police departments, provide input into the bond projects?

Each project will be required to be submitted to both the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) and the Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) for both plan review and permitting. These agencies will review the projects to ensure they comply with applicable codes, before any building permits are issued. Building plans and specifications must be signed and sealed by a Licensed Architect/Professional Engineer before submission.

 

As of March 21, 2019, Michigan law requires school districts to consult on the plans for the construction or major renovation regarding school safety issues with the law enforcement agency that is the first responder for that school building. This consultation would happen after a bond proposal has been approved by voters, but before construction documents are finalized prior to project commencement. 

Financial Information

Where can I find financial information on this proposal?

For more financial information regarding the May 4, 2021 election, please see the Your Tax Impact page.

Voting Information

Where can I find information about voting on this proposal?

For more information regarding voting in the May 4, 2021 election and to review ballot language, please see the Voter Info page.

References

Bouchard, K.L. & Berg, D.H. (2017). Students’ school belonging: Juxtaposing the perspectives of teachers and students in the late elementary years (grades 4-8). School Community Journal, 27(1).

Fisher, M. (2019). K-8 grade span configurations and their impact on students transitioning between schools. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Hyman, Lakecia. (2015) Middle school plunge: a mixed-methods study exploring 6th grade students' perceptions of their transition to middle school experiences and its influences on school achievement and performance for urban youth. Theses and Dissertations. 323. https://rdw.rowan.edu/etd/323 Laldin, M. (2016). The psychology of belonging (and why it matters). Online: https://www.learningandthebrain.com/blog/psychology-of-belonging/

Malaspina, D. & Rimm-Kaufman, S.E. (2008). Early Predictors of School Performance Declines at School Transition Points, RMLE Online, 31:9, 1-16, DOI: 10.1080/19404476.2008.11462052