Superintendent of Hancock Schools Briefs Board on Mileage | News, Sports, Jobs


HANCOCK — Hancock Public Schools Superintendent Steve Patchin spoke about the two miles the district has in the Nov. 8 ballot at the Hancock City Council meeting on Wednesday.

The district has separate mileage requests:

≤ A $4.225 million bond proposal for renovation, furnishing and remodeling, and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquisition and installation of educational technology and educational technology equipment for school buildings; and developing and improving a playground, parking areas, walkways and sites. Residents would pay about 1.12 mills in 2023, with an estimated annual average of 1.03 mills over the life of the bond, for a maximum of 26 years.

≤ A 1.5 million five-year renewal of the mileage of the building and site sinking fund that expired in 2022. The fund can be used for the construction or repair of school buildings, for the improvement of the school safety, for the acquisition or upgrading of technology and for any other purposes authorized by law.

Patchin said the bond proposal focuses on three areas: health, safety and discovery in STEM.

For safety reasons, the district will rework parking lots and bus pickup and drop-off, as well as student pickup and drop-off. The Barkell Elementary School playground will also be upgraded, with sections separated by age and developmental level.

“We all know that children learn a lot through playing, and this will be available to our community,” said Patchine.

The kitchens will be renovated. During COVID, the district was cooking between 600 and 900 meals a week for students and their families, which took a toll, Patchin said.

“We’re still in good shape, but as you know with old hardware, if you’re trying to fix it and it’s outdated, good luck finding the parts.” he said.

The district has also taken a big step forward in STEM. The money will fund science, technology, engineering, math and manufacturing labs.

Hancock recently became one of 81 districts designated as a primary school by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers foundation. This came with $300,000 in equipment, teacher training, and long-term corporate relationships.

“We get the equipment through these grants and we bring it; now we need a place to house it,” he said. “And we need a place for these kids to engage in it in the right way.”

To receive certification, students learn the fundamental skills of manufacturing. Students can earn micro-certificates in everything from welding to computer-aided design.

“They could leave tomorrow and take them and find a job wherever they want,” he said. “Or they can use those skills and develop them, go to Gogebic Community College, go to Finlandia, go to Michigan Tech.”

The district also renews its sinking fund, used to repair and upgrade buildings in the district. In the previous five years, the district used the fund for everything from air conditioners to the high school roof.

Upcoming projects include the roof of Hancock Middle School; repair the entrance to Barkell Elementary, which has been moved; replace Barkell windows, which are reaching the end of their life; and improved sound and lighting in the college auditorium.

Unlike the bond issue, there is no interest rate.

Even if voters approve of the two mileage, they will still see a significant tax cut this year, Patchin said.

Last year, the district collected about 8.9 mills. Due to the repayment of previous bonds, residents will still pay around 2.95 mill less, even if both measures are approved.

“Most districts will go out and they will try to capture that from the start because once you are in a certain factory you keep capturing and reinvesting in your district,” said Patchine. “We are not asking you to do this. Our Board of Directors is very aware of the times in which we find ourselves and our community. »

Due to rising property values ​​in the city, the mileage rate charged is expected to decrease over the life of the bond. Property values ​​have increased an average of 3.8% over the past five years, Patchin said; the district assumed 2.5% growth when developing its proposal.

The district’s bond company also factored in rising inflation when preparing the proposal; Patchin expects to be able to withdraw the bond at rates of 4.5% to 4.6%.

“Nothing will change as rates rise because our bond company has made a very conservative estimate of the costs,” he said.

Hancock schools’ total bond debt has been declining since the 1990s, councilor John Haeussler said. Where it was once as high as 11.33 mils, it will now be less than 6.

“I think that’s very reasonable, and even if passed, it puts bond debt at a very reasonable rate for all ratepayers in the community,” he said.



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