October’s Parent Council discussion focused on the district’s facilities, including work recently completed and underway as part of the 2017 voter-approved capital project and an upcoming capital project proposal that will go before voters in December.
Parent Council is a forum for F-M families to meet informally with the superintendent and other district staff to discuss topics relevant to its students. The sessions are informal and open, and parents are an integral part of discussions that occur.
2017 Capital Project
On Dec. 5, 2017, district residents approved a $45.2 million facilities project proposal to fix aging infrastructure, add instructional space, enhance security, improve accessibility for people with disabilities and create energy efficiencies.
The project included major renovations and an addition at Wellwood Middle School, which is the district’s oldest building with sections dating back to its original 1933 construction; an addition to Enders Road Middle School and updates to F-M High School’s bathrooms and Library Media Center. The work at Enders Road and the high school is complete and Wellwood is nearing completion, with new spaces already in use, including new music and art rooms, the library media center and general education classrooms.
2021 Capital Project Proposal
On Oct. 4, F-M administrators will be asking the F-M Board of Education to approve a Dec. 7 vote date for a proposed $52 million capital project that will provide infrastructure and programmatic space upgrades to F-M High School, the one school building that all F-M students attend before graduating.
The proposal aligns with the district’s 2020-23 Strategic Plan, which includes a focus on capital improvement projects that improve learning spaces, building security and accessibility and ensuring that district facilities are responsive to contemporary teaching and learning needs.
In addition to programmatic upgrades and improvements, the project would unify a school community that’s currently spread between House 1 and House 2, which were originally designed as two separate buildings. The proposed project would centralize offices and renovate portions of the building to better meet students’ needs.
District officials expect that the state would reimburse the district for about 80% of the proposed construction costs directly related to instruction. The district plans to ask voters in December to also approve the district’s use of capital reserve funds to reduce the total amount the district would finance.
If the district uses $7.2 million in capital reserves, the estimated tax rate increase is projected to be 1.89%, and the estimated impact on $100,000 of taxable value would be $47.80, which is lower than what district officials first estimated.
The increase would be phased in over a four-year period, beginning with the 2024-25 school year. It equates to an average per-year increase of $11.95 per $100,000 of taxable value.
The proposal is expected to be discussed again at the Dec. 1 Parent Council meeting, which will be held virtually. Information about the district’s facilities projects is available on the district website, and more information about Parent Council and its upcoming meetings is online.