Ludington schools bond: What happens to the current elementary buildings?

April 30, 2019

Ludington schools bond: What happens to the current elementary buildings? 

LUDINGTON — On Tuesday, May 7, voters in the Ludington Area School District are being asked to decide on a 2.32 mills bond issue which will build a new kindergarten through fifth grade complex, and completely renovate the middle school/high school complex, among some other facility improvements (see more details here).

The district has been asked several questions about the bond. Superintendent Jason Kennedy sat down with MCP recently to answer some of the questions. Over the next week, we will run a series of posts with answers to many of the questions. These questions and answers also appear on the district’s website. The accompanying video includes Kennedy’s full interview. 

Q: What would happen to the buildings after the new elementary school complex opens? 

A: If the bond proposal were approved, the buildings would be vacated after the new school is completed by Fall 2021. The Board of Education is planning to market the buildings for sale. If the buildings do not sell for a purpose approved by the Board, there would be funds available through the bond proposal to demolish the buildings during the bond project timeline. The buildings would not sit vacant or become blighted. Some of the suggested uses of the buildings from community members at forums include: community parks, residential housing, community or senior centers, affordable housing, service related industries, just to name a few. 

Q: Why not sell the old buildings first? 

A: The old buildings cannot be sold until after the new elementary school complex is completed. The elementary school buildings will continue to provide educational programming until the new elementary complex is ready for students. 

Q: What will be done with money from the sale of the buildings? 

A: The District must first determine if there are any outstanding bonds associated with the property being sold. If there are, restrictions under the federal tax law require the sale of the property or land to be a cash sale (no trades, etc.) and for the sale to be at or above fair market value. Then, any proceeds from a sale that are at or below the value of the outstanding bonds on the property must be used for projects that were outlined in the voter approved ballot language. This money must also be spent within two years of the sale on these projects. If there are no outstanding bonds on the property or land that is being sold, the proceeds may go into the District’s General Fund. 

Q: If the buildings are sold, and bond proceeds are not needed to demolish the vacant buildings, what happens to the extra money that is no longer needed to demolish a building or buildings? 

A: The District may either elect to enhance the projects that appear in the ballot language, or the proceeds that are no longer needed for demolition can be used to pay down the District’s debt service levy, resulting in a reduced millage levy.

Tomorrow: Why can’t we just fix the buildings? 

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