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Posted on Tue, May 25, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

Saline Area Schools residents to vote on bond issue in August election

By Brian Vernellis

Voters in the Saline Area Schools district will decide in August whether to approve a $28 million bond resolution that will fund infrastructure and technology improvements and perhaps buy new buses.

The school board voted Monday night to put the measure on the ballot and will make a presentation to residents about the bond issue and how the funds will be used at its regular school board meeting tonight. The meeting is in the Liberty School Media Center, 7265 Saline-Ann Arbor Road, will convene at 6:30 p.m.

The board had to submit a bond resolution to the state by 4 p.m. today in order to get the resolution on the Aug. 3 ballot.

This action by the school board will extend current bonds set to expire for another six to eight years and make it eligible for federal bonds, saving the district $7 million, said Steve Laatsch, district spokesman and assistant superintendent for instruction of Saline Area Schools. The current bonds expire in 2025.

Saline residents pay 7 mills toward the current bonds and would continue paying that under the proposed extension.

At tonight’s meeting, the board plans to unveil the details surrounding the bond resolution and explain its case to residents.

“Financially, it’s a tough time for Saline and Michigan, and we recognize that that’s an issue,” Laatsch said. “At the same time, we’re trying to send a message to residents that this is important to help keep the infrastructure. It’s our job as the administration to get the word out that (voters) understand the difference between asking for this versus saying we want to increase salaries.”



Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 5:12 p.m.

Well, I'm late to the party, but for what it's worth, I voted "no" today. The bottom line is that this is the only way voters have left to vote their displeasure with the excesses of the past that are being perpetuated into the future "in the interest of our kids." It is my understanding the teachers do not have a co-pay for their healthcare. Show me a private sector employee who doesn't have a copay. It is my understanding that this 3% "cut" they keep crying about, or crowing about as a concession, was really a type of forced savings, as it went into THEIR pension. Private employees across the state have taken anywhere between a 5 and 20% paycut, some more, and it didn't go into their pensions, folks, 'cause they don't have pensions. Many of us have lost our jobs altogether. Time for a pay cut for the public sector. Now! Not more borrowing against the future to allow education to keep inflating and living plushly today. If there is more money needed for facilities, get the unions back to the table and take something out of their hide to pay for it. Until then, I vote "no" on every education bond proposal that I can vote on. Sorry, but it is the excesses and union hubris of the past that have necessitated this. It'll probably pass anyway, but I registered my discontent. My conscience is clear.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

Need more: Recent data compiled by the National Education Association shows that average salaries for Michigan public school teachers from 2003 to 2009 outpaced those of teachers in all other states when factoring in states' per capita personal income levels.... and then this whopper; Michigan Department of Education Miscalculates Average Teacher Salary Department corrects its error; revised figures available The Michigan Department of Education 'improperly' calculated the average public school teacher salary in the state for the last six years, reporting figures significantly lower than what is correct. Corrected figures for the past two years were recently released -6/2/2010.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

No - No No No No Saline Teachers need to take a pay cut and that is all there is to it! The Saline Teachers Union is harming our kids by gross mis-management and outright blackmail.. The only Michigan statistic that has risen over these 8 years of Recession' is teacher pay. It is time the Teachers in Saline took a pay freeze and/or a pay cut. The Union should offer a 3% pay cut and a 3 year freeze off the automatic annual salary increases. The Teachers should also agree to pay for 5% of their own health care - since they pay 0% now. Teachers are averaging $100,000 in salary and benefits and vacation time etc etc etc. Teachers only work about 1,300 hours per year. Michigan does not have the money.

Happy Puppy

Fri, May 28, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

I agree with Saline Mom straight down the line. I would also like to say that one cannot blame the current administrators or board for the high school. Those people are long gone (I know Graden was there, but not in a power position; Laatsch either). If taxes are not going up (and even if they were) I will vote yes. Why would I want my child to suffer just to be vindictive? I want him to have the best possible education and approving this millage extension will help do that.


Thu, May 27, 2010 : 11:47 p.m.

To clarify, the $4000.00 tax loss is what I pay for property taxes which obviously helps fund public education. Of course some will say that my house would be sold to a new owner but I can assure any and all that with the number of bank foreclosure out there, the tax revenue captured by the state from the new owner would not even be close to what I pay. Actually, just looked at my property taxes last year, they were $4385!! My sophmore gradutes in two years and then it is Bye Bye Michigan, on to warmer and sunnier pastures!!!!


Thu, May 27, 2010 : 11:35 p.m.

@Mr. JamesBond007, I understand my taxes won't go up, your posting implies stupidity on my part and I don't appreciate that. As you said, enrollment has dropped dramatically the past few years. Saline Schools had never experienced that until the economy took a dump and I am a victim of that. The Saline School district and the School Board saw this coming a number of years ago and buried their head in the sand. Now the school board is controlled by retired public school teachers that are not going to do anything to change anyting. I will very likely be one of the next folks to call my mortgage company and tell them to take my house back. They will take a 100 grand hit, I will walk away and move most likely out west, back to where I grew up. My parents put me through Saline High and I have had two kids graduate Saline thus far with one a sophmore right now. My youngest won't enter the system for 4 more years and I can tell you it most likely will not be in Saline. Probably somewhere in Utah or Colorado. This will result in a 4000 dollar tax loss for the State of Michigan plus all the thousands of dollars I spend here each year for gasoline, groceries etc. Good Day!

Jay Allen

Thu, May 27, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

I am on the edge of seriously telling a few of you just how it is as you just don't seem to get it. First, stunhsif. What part of NOT paying more do you not grasp? The proposal is a CONTINUATION of what you are paying NOW!!! It is naive to think that in 10-15 years that you will not pay more, and this ensures it IS THE SAME!!! This is first year econ to understand the subject. And it allows the school system to be eligible for 7 million dollars now. So now think about pay no more that you do right now -AND- the school has has access to 7 million dollars. Voting no on such a proposal makes no sense other than stubbornness. You continue to toss this "sense of entitlement" around like salad. Instead of saying this, why don't you spell it out what you mean. I strongly urge you to do research and understand where SalineMom and I stand on the issues. Riley. So you think that the budget crisis in Saline is because the school system inaccurately projected operating capital on this "taj mahal"? LOL!!! Even -IF- the operating budget was TWICE what was projected, you are not even close to where we are now. Here, I'll say. Where is your PROOF of such a claim? Facts and data, not made up words. The internet allows those with half facts and half truths to be heard and this is an issue that I have spent an inordinate amount of time getting facts and understanding why Saline is in the shape it is in. While others sit back spewing conjecture as fact. Enrollment is Saline is down, way down. That takes money away PER CHILD as funded by the state. The State has cut that funding almost in half of what it was 5 years ago. That takes operating capital away. The teachers negotiated a contract (legally) that is now outside the scope of acceptable. Find me a profession anywhere where profits are down (way down) and yet salaries are continually higher. It does not exist. The reluctance of tim heim to do what the WR School District did do is the reason why many teachers are losing their job. This is an excellent subject and spirited debate can certainly be had, on BOTH sides. But this can only occur with BOTH sides have accurate information and are using said information, correctly.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 27, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

Stunhsif isn't going to vote for the bond? Even if it saves the school district money? I know I'm shocked! Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, May 27, 2010 : 6:36 a.m.

@stunhsif your taxes won't go up because it is a continuation of a current bond millage. So the district has a chance to save 7 million dollars on interest to improve the infrastructure and technology among other things and you'd vote no on this?


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:39 p.m.

spambot1, you are a teacher obviously by saying this is all Lansing's fault. You are the one oversimplifying the situation. announcerman007, why will I vote no from now on? Because I cannot afford to pay more, my paycheck is 20% lower than 4 years ago. When the new high school was built my property taxes went up a lot and ain't coming down. As polecat said, we are fed up with the sense of entitlement and will no longer put up with it. That's it, nothing more, nothing less. Until the MEA and SEA make concessions I will vote no on any funding for public education. And the 3% they just took to fund their lifetime healthcare benefits is a joke. None of us in the private sector have healthcare after we retire.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

Riley - Blaming the "district" 10 years ago for problems that exist in Lansing today is oversimplification. The current budget problems are a result of 15 years of budget-tricks and one-time fixes - a complicated history that, once understood, reveals our elected officials for the fools they are. Unfortunately, they facts don't make good sound bites. Trying to blame the problem on the school board, the high school, the teachers, the benefits, the retirement...all good side-shows created by "tea party" clowns that want every tax repealed.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

While the bond was used to pay for the "Taj Ma High School", the operating costs for a building that large was not adequately planned for whatsoever.

Jay Allen

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

Edit: et al ~2025

Jay Allen

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:44 a.m.

About being clueless, about the attitude of many, and the incorrect information being shared that was corrected by Salinemom......... If you think the folks are clueless, then vote them out. If so many people are TRULY upset, then how did these folks get elected in? If you were against the school being built, great, but stop crying. Many times people all of a sudden have an opinion once they don't get their way. I also think it is very funny that three of you say [paraphrasing] "I will vote no against no new taxes". Once again, this is YOUR RIGHT. But why? Give a reason. State your case. Don't just jump in with a one or two liner about bureaucrats and then run off. And the money is NOT NEW money. LOL People that are trying to have an educated discussion can only do so when ALL of the facts that are presented, are actually read. This is an extension to an existing millage that will occur in 2022-2023.

Hot Sam

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

Until "Big Ed" starts getting serious about ending the bureaucratic largess, starting with six hundred school districts...everyone should vote no on every request for more money...


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

stunhsif is accurately reflecting the opinions of many in Saline that think the school system is led by people that just don't get it. They always come with the potential damage to the children if we don't vote to give them more money to waste. The leadership is clueless in many ways. One example is not enforcing theoir rule to do pre employment drug testing. You have school employees that are regular drug users interacting with kids on a daily basis.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 8:38 a.m.

@blph The bond issue is for 28 million dollars - the 7 million is interest savings - since they are using a federal program. I think the 28 million is available right away once voters approve. The funds can only be used for certain things.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

@stunhsif Check out the budget blog on the SAS website. There is a list of the fund balance over the years. 25 million is half of the current budget. We never had that much money in fund balance.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

@salinemom and announcerman007, I did oppose the building of this high school years ago and there is a connection between this ridiculous building and where Saline Schools are financially. It is the sense of entitlement that is disgusting and continues to this day. Ten years ago Saline Schools were warned about the impending financial situation and blew through a 25 million dollar surplus to where we are now. Saline Schools has been living "too large" for far "too long" and the High School is the shining example of that entitlement. Laatsch,Friese, Medley and the BOE better get Mr. Heim to the table for a serious attitude adjustment or we will vote them out. I am one taxpayer who will see that through.

Jay Allen

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 7:22 a.m.

SalineMom is 100% correct in her post directed at stunhsif. Using a school that was in the works 9-10 YEARS ago as a defense as to why "I will vote no!!!" does not make any sense. It has become ever popular to use the High School as a defense against, well, just about any issue. LOL Many of the improvements in the school during the planning phase were paid for by CARES money which is a totally different subject. Two prime examples of this are the Pool and the Auto Shop. Students from all over the County and from WCC come to the auto shop as it is a state of the art, first class facility. The Pool is yet another example and this is something I have in depth knowledge of. The State High School Water Polo Tournament is being held yet again in Saline because of the facility. Just more proof to the old addage, "Build it and they will come". Monies generated from other students coming in or from high end state tournaments help pay for these facilities to some degree. This eases the burden on those who will already "vote no!!!". The time to complain about the High School if you disagree with it was BEFORE it was built. Not after. And if you did appose the building of the school, that is your right to do so. But quit crying about it. If you oppose the extension of a mileage that will affect us in 12-13 years and STOP the school system from trying to acquire 7 million dollars of Federal money, then oppose that issue and state WHY you oppose that issue. Don't convolute an issue with rhetoric that is meaningless to the issue. And if you vote no, again that is YOUR right. But do not be one of the ones on here opposing layoffs, cutbacks, etc because the school system has less operating capital and is doing whatever they feel necessary to help acquire some funds.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 6:57 a.m.

If the $28 million bond resolution is approved, when will the $7 million in federal bonds become available to the district; i.e., immediately or in 12 years?


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 6:01 a.m.

@stunhsif People need to seriously get over the high school and move forward. Should we tear it down and build something else? It was built in different times and will probably last beyond our lives - but with some of the improvements they have made discussed at board meetings, it is probably more efficient on a square foot basis than my measley 1,000 square feet. Saving 7,000,000 million dollars for infastructure things that we have to do anyway and not impact the general fund! Even the SEA could do this math properly. I will vote YES!!


Tue, May 25, 2010 : 9:47 p.m.

"Financially, it's a tough time for Saline and Michigan, and we recognize that that's an issue," Laatsch said. "At the same time, we're trying to send a message to residents that this is important to help keep the infrastructure". Mr. Laatsch, why the disconnect my friend? You built a high school that looks like something Donald Trump would put up in Las Vegas and you want me to vote yes to extend this bond? The bazillion extra windows and extravagant trapizoid 4 story runway that costs bazillion's of dollars to heat and cool air that is not necessary other than to "look cool", is "DUMB" and "MIND NUMBING". I know what it costs me to heat and cool my 2300 square foot house, I can only imagine what it costs to heat and cool this monstrosity. Why does Saline High School look fancier/sweeter/ritzier than almost all the Fortune 500 companies HQ in this country? I don't give a flying you know what, I will vote no!!!

Brian Vernellis

Tue, May 25, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

The school district is acting now because they would be eligible for Build America bonds and other federal bonds that would save it $7 million in the long run.


Tue, May 25, 2010 : 4:02 p.m.

Is this correct? "This action by the school board will extend current bonds set to expire in 2022-23 for another six to eight years and make it eligible for federal bonds, saving the district $7 million" Extend the current bonds 6-8 years PAST 2022? Seems kind of soon to be voting for a bond extension. 2022 isn't for 12 years.