The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors this week unanimously endorsed the Traverse City Area Public Schools bond millage request proposal that goes before district voters at the August 7 primary election. The support came following a presentation from TCAPS officials to the board outlining the district’s 10-year capital improvement plan.
The bond proposal would extend the district’s capital millage at its current rate of 3.1 mills, which is unchanged for the past 20 years.
“The Chamber has historically been a strong supporter of public and private education in our region,” Chamber Executive Director Max Anderson said. “TCAPS leaders have worked hard to improve the district’s finances and have put the district on solid financial footing going forward. Support for its 10-year capital plan will continue that trend while also giving TCAPS the financial resources to improve the quality educational programs and services our region needs to compete going forward.”
TCAPS Supt. Paul Soma and Associate Supt. of Finance and Operations Christine Thomas-Hill gave the board an overview of the 10-year capital plan. Soma noted that TCAPS is among the region’s biggest employers – only Munson Healthcare is larger – with a total annual operating budget of more than $100 million, while managing assets worth an estimated $370 million.
The capital plan lays out some $10 million in annual capital upgrades over the next 10 years, including:
- $5.6 million annually for capital infrastructure including new elementary school construction and security upgrades at West Middle School and various elementary buildings.
- $2 million annually for technology upgrades.
- $1 million in transportation and busing.
- $200,000 a year for upgrading athletic and physical education facilities.
- $150,000 for capital needs in the visual and performing arts programs.
- $150,000 a year for operational equipment.
Soma noted the 3.1-mill capital millage rate sought by the district is more than 40 percent below the state average of 5.4 mills.The proposal would maintain the cost to the owner of a $200,000 home (with a taxable value of $100,000) at approximately $310 per year.
Follow Chamber communications for updates on the bond millage campaign. More information is also available on the district’s website at www.tcaps.net
The deadline to register for the August 7 primary election is Monday, July 9.