Recently, we celebrated the reopening of Allen Elementary, a school building that has been beautifully repaired and restored following a devastating flood in August, 2016.
Our Ann Arbor Public Schools reality is that all 32 of our beautiful neighborhood schools, now averaging 60+ years in age, are in need of repair, restoration, and updating in order to serve our students and staff as they learn, work, and grow together each day.
The Sinking Fund ballot question, before voters on May 2, 2017, will provide for this necessary investment in our AAPS schools and properties.
Importance of Maintaining Quality School Facilities
“Like the people and programs within them, the quality of our school buildings matters,” states authors of the High Performance School Buildings for All Children report, which estimates that public school districts across the country need to spend $268 billion dollars in major rehabilitation and new construction.
In Michigan and across the U.S., repair and updating of infrastructure is a common theme. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports on its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card that, since 1998, America’s infrastructure has earned persistent D averages, and the failure to close the investment gap with needed maintenance and improvements continues with devastating impacts on U.S. productivity, perpetuating economic, environmental and other negative impacts to communities across the country.
Physical Property Repairs & Restoration in the AAPS
Here at home in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we are responsible for more than 3.4 million square feet in 32 schools and properties located in the City of Ann Arbor and surrounding townships. Many of our school buildings are historic, some use the word ‘vintage,’ and five of our schools -Angell, Ann Arbor Open, Bach, Burns Park, and Community - will soon turn 100 years old. Our schools are in need of additional repair, renewal, and updating of infrastructure systems in order to continue to serve our students and the Ann Arbor community well.
We are fortunate in Ann Arbor to benefit from a highly-successful school district: our students perform at academically high levels; our talented, teachers, quality programs, and engaged parent and community render the AAPS among top-performing Michigan school districts, well-known across the country and around the world.
Aging infrastructure in the AAPS, however, requires additional investment. Dollars for critical repairs and updating are a priority at this time, particularly in positioning our schools to continue in good condition to serve our students, families, and the Ann Arbor community over the coming years.
The request before voters this spring is to increase the AAPS Sinking Fund Millage from 1 mill (the millage has been at 1 mill since 2004) to 2.5 mills in order to attend to district facility/physical property needs in three areas:
To learn more specific information about the Sinking Fund Millage proposal, please:
Functional and well-maintained schools are a clear indicator of the health and vibrancy of a community. Investing in maintaining our schools is both a community priority and our shared responsibility. Keeping our schools updated, in sound working order, and ensuring that they are sustainable places to deliver quality education, both for today’s students and for those to come, pays forward the public trust that has been provided to us by those who came before.
Strong communities are the home to quality public schools. I know that we are proud of our amazing students, our beautiful school buildings, and the important role they play in our vibrant Ann Arbor community.
Please join me on May 2nd in voting YES in support of our children and our schools, and thank you for your support of our 17,500 current students and the generations of students who will continue the tradition of quality learning in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Jeanice K. Swift