Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

October 26, 2012

Forum: Bond proposal approval an investment

I write to correct recently submitted inaccuracies regarding the Traverse City Area Public Schools Bond Proposal.

The proposed auditorium for Central High School would be used by approximately 600 students each school day, approximately 45 percent of the Central High School student body.

The auditorium will also be regularly used by students from West High School and West Middle School, and East Middle School. Many other community groups will also use the auditorium on a regular basis.

The auditorium will certainly serve more than "a small number of students."

TCAPS has endeavored to provide adequate infrastructure for a comprehensive education for all students. Like laboratories for science classes and technology for every student, the auditorium will provide infrastructure required for curricular needs.

The proposed Central High School auditorium will not put fine arts classes "ahead of other academic" programs. The proposed auditorium would cost $18 million, not $26 million. The remaining cost within the often-cited $26 million figure would be used to create an entry for the Central High building, a gathering area for students, and move the main administrative offices to improve safety and security.

TCAPS' bond sales are used exclusively for capital infrastructure for the entire district. They do not pay for salaries or operational costs.

The bond proposal is completely transparent. The district's web site contains a wealth of information about the capital plan, and the district has offered numerous public forums for questions and dialogue. The Board and school staff are available to answer questions from any interested person.

The bond proposal is a continuation of the district's long-term capital plan, which began in 2001. The district has a strong, established and independently-audited record of fiscal responsibility, and the bond proposal is a part of sound fiscal planning and management of district resources.

All students in the district will benefit from passage of the bond. Further, bond funding stays local in that 90 percent of the proceeds will go to local firms involved in the planning and construction. Approval of the bond proposal will be a wise investment in our region's educational and long-term economic viability.

I urge voters to go to www.tcaps.net to study detailed information about the bond proposal.

Please join me in voting "yes" for students and for our community.

About the author: Kelly Hall is President of the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education.

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of interest or expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing letters@record-eagle.com. Please include biographical information and a photo.

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