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Coloma Community School District

Inspire to Achieve. Empower for Success. 

Vote May 7, 2024!

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding our upcoming May 7, 2024 bond proposals. 

If you have a question not addressed here, please contact Superintendent Dave Ehlers at 269-468-2424 or to have your question answered.

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Overview + Funding

What is the 2024 bond proposal?
A school bond election consists of a millage (tax levy) and permission to sell bonds that will be repaid through this millage. The bond issues requested by Coloma Community Schools would be used to finance building and other capital projects. These measures are placed on the ballot by the school district’s school board to be decided by the voting public. 

The district has an opportunity to improve academics by addressing our facilities’ most pressing needs and improving learning environments. Proposed projects include: 

  • Proposal 1: $12.48 Million, projected .9 mill Increase

    • Update Student Learning Environments at Elementary and High School

      • ​Remodel 1960s-era classrooms
      • Technology and furnishings
    • Update Infrastructure in All Buildings
      • Replace boiler at Elementary School
      • Install mechanical control systems at Elementary and High School
      • Partial LED lighting upgrade in common areas
      • Partial replacement of windows and exterior doors

      • Building envelope improvements

    • Demolish North Building (Old High School)

      • Install mechanical equipment for Alwood Gym (If Proposal 2 passes, this funding would be reallocated for
        mechanical equipment in the new gym)


  • Proposal 2: $11.9 million, projected .85 mill increase  

    • HVAC Throughout Elementary and High School

    • New Auxiliary Gym at Intermediate School

      • Demolish the Alwood Gym

    • New Playground at Intermediate School


Why are we considering a bond issue now?

After obtaining input through the Board of Education’s Planning process, a facility needs assessment, and community and staff members throughout 2023, we determined several facility and site needs that still cannot be addressed through current funding alone. The bond programs were rescoped after two community forums and a community survey to ensure that we were utilizing feedback from our last proposal request to develop the new requests. 


The Board of Education opted to put our most significant projects into Proposal #1. However, we could not achieve all of the identified facility updates through that bond alone. 


Proposal #2 was developed to encompass additional facility upgrades, as identified in community listening sessions and surveys, and focuses on improving the educational experience for all Coloma students.


Would my tax rate increase if the bond proposal is approved?
If approved, Proposal 1 would allow the district to sell bonds and generate approximately $12.48 million with a 0.9 mill increase over the current millage rate of 2.7 mills. 

If approved, Proposal 2 would allow the district to sell bonds and generate approximately $11.9 million with a 0.85 mill increase over the current millage rate of 2.7 mills and the 0.9 mills proposed in Proposal 1. 


If both Proposals 1 + 2 were approved, the district could sell bonds and generate approximately $24.38 million in funds with a total of 1.75 mill increase over the current millage rate of 2.7 mills. Using the average median home value in our community of approximately $158,000, this increase would equate to approximately $11.52 per month or $138.25 a year for the average home in our school district.


Proposal 2 would not move forward if Proposal 1 does not pass. Visit our Tax Impact page to learn more. 


What is a mill?
A mill is equal to $1 per every $1,000 of taxable property valuation (not the market value of a home; homeowners can refer to their latest assessment for their home’s taxable value). 

How are Michigan schools funded?
The state of Michigan provides funding to school districts on a per-pupil basis based on the cost of educating the average pupil per year. The state of Michigan does not provide funding to address facilities, which are funded exclusively through local property taxes. There are two ways that school districts can raise money for facility improvements: levying sinking funds and selling bonds. 

What is the difference between a bond proposal and a sinking fund?
Bond proposals are used to finance major capital projects. The district can borrow money upfront and repay the bond over time.

Sinking funds are provided on an annual basis to address the immediate needs of school buildings, facilities, and surrounding school sites. This is intended for short-term improvements rather than major renovations and upgrades. 

What is the School District doing to maintain our buildings?

Our maintenance staff has done an excellent job maintaining our facilities, but some of our systems and equipment are nearing the end of their useful life. Our operating fund has helped to maintain our buildings, but we are at the point where more costly items are going to need to be replaced.


Why do you believe that this is an “investment” in our students and community?

Our public schools are a joint responsibility for all citizens in our society. Most communities are known for the quality of their schools and facilities. Quality school facilities can be a positive factor in attracting and retaining families. Homes are generally more desirable in a school district that provides quality education and a variety of fine arts, technical, vocational, and athletic programs.

Investing in our school facilities is an investment in the future of our community. By improving our schools, we not only provide a better learning environment for our students but also create opportunities for local businesses to thrive. When local contractors are involved in renovation projects, it stimulates the local economy, creates jobs, and fosters a sense of community involvement.


Coloma Community Schools parents and citizens desire a strong public education for their children. Past generations in our community have provided for the needs of our schools over the decades. This is our opportunity to extend that legacy of a high-quality education at Coloma to future generations. 

Bond Planning Process

How did this proposal come about?

In 2021, our architectural and construction partners, TowerPinkster and Owen-Ames-Kimball, compiled a district-wide Facility Assessment. It examined district-owned buildings and grounds with regard to safety and security, accessibility, structural, electrical, exterior & interior conditions, mechanical (heating/cooling/plumbing), and general site items. The assessment indicated that some of our buildings are in need of major improvements.


Have you asked for community input on this bond issue?

Yes. Two community forums were held during the spring and fall of 2023. Based on this input, several changes were made to the plans. A community-wide survey was sent to the Coloma community on a postcard with a QR code link to the survey in July 2023. The survey was also emailed to District parents, linked on the District website, and paper copies were available in the District office and at the Coloma Library. Over 230 responses were received, contributing to the final bond proposal scope. 


 What are the main priorities that have been identified?

  • Provide a conducive, comfortable, and safe learning environment for all K-12 students with updated classroom spaces

  • Address major infrastructure projects, including systems at the end of their useful cycle

  • Demolish the North Building (old High School), which is deteriorating and costly to maintain

  • Add air conditioning throughout the Elementary and High School to provide students with more comfortable learning environments, which have reached close to 80° at the beginning and end of the school year

  • Replacing the Alwood gym with a new gym would save the District operational fund money in operations costs 

  • Relocating the Intermediate School playground behind the building and away from the traffic on West Street will increase student safety

  • Healthy environments for students and staff

  • Energy and operational savings 

  • Reserve capacity for future bond project

  • Provide a long-range plan for site and facility projects


Why have a bond vote now?

Our maintenance staff has done a great job maintaining our buildings using the operational budget. However, we cannot continue to fund large capital improvement projects out of our general fund budget without negatively affecting our current programs and our students.


Many large or expensive projects for buildings and systems are nearing the end of their useful life and cannot be paid for by the general fund without significant cuts to funding for educational programming.

Voting Information

Who can vote in this bond proposal election? 
Residents within the Coloma Community Schools district who will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day and are registered to vote. Please note you can register to vote through election day at your local clerk’s office. 

Where can I get information about voting (such as how to register, where to vote, and absentee voting)?
Go to the Michigan Voter Information website or contact your local clerk. 

Where do I go to vote?
If you are unsure of your voting precinct, visit or contact your local clerk. 

Do I need to update my voter registration?
You need to update your voter registration if you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted. You can do this at any Secretary of State office or at the clerk’s office where you reside. 

Can I vote by absentee ballot?
Yes. Registered voters do not need a reason to vote by absentee ballot. You can request an absentee ballot application from your Clerk’s Office or by going online to and clicking on Absentee Voting in the left column.

Absentee ballots should be available to voters after March 28, 2024, and may be cast through Election Day on May 7, 2024. 

Project Specific Information

How would the bond proposals impact each school building?



Proposal 1: $3.18 million

  • Replace boiler in the older wing

  • Replace finishes (classroom casework), flooring, ceilings

  • Replace lighting and oldest windows

  • Replace exterior doors

  • Upgrade toilet rooms 

  • Replace corridor lighting with LED fixtures

  • Partial replacement of student desks, tables, and chairs 

  • Partial replacement of student computers, printers, and projectors


Proposal 2: $2.45 million

  • New mechanical equipment in the classrooms and electrical service upgrades (HVAC)



Proposal 1: $3.34 million

  • Replace oldest windows

  • Replace exterior doors

  • Replace corridor lighting with LED fixtures

  • Partial replacement of student desks, tables, and chairs 

  • Partial replacement of student computers, printers, and projectors

  • Demolish the existing North Building (old High School)

  • Install new mechanical system for Alwood Gym (if Proposal 2 does not pass)

  • Repave parking lots

  • Replace sidewalks


Proposal 2: $6.34 million

  • Move existing playground/install new playground behind the building

  • Replace Alwood Gym with a 13,500 SF gym addition (with lobby and toilet rooms)

  • Partial replacement of student desks, tables, and chairs

  • Partial replacement of student computers, printers, and projectors 



Proposal 1: $1.13 million

  • Toilet room remodel 

  • Replace corridor lighting with LED fixtures

  • Partial replacement of student desks, tables, and chairs 

  • Partial replacement of student computers, printers, and projectors

  • Replace sidewalks


Proposal 2: No Projects



Proposal 1: $4.72 million

  • Replace single-pane windows

  • Replace corridor, shop, and classroom lighting with LED fixtures

  • Replace door hardware for ADA/security

  • Replace finishes (classroom casework), oldest classroom ceilings, and portions of classroom flooring

  • Replace HVAC in the shop area

  • Replace locker room flooring

  • Partial replacement of student desks, tables, and chairs 

  • Partial replacement of student computers, printers, and projectors


Proposal 2: $3.01 million

  • New mechanical equipment in the classrooms and electrical service upgrades (HVAC)

  • Partial replacement of student desks, tables, and chairs

  • Partial replacement of student computers, printers, and projectors 


Why are you spending money on buildings instead of books?

Money in the general fund generally pays for the district’s curriculum and educational programs. At this time, we are asking the community to consider whether to approve two proposals that could generate bond funds to upgrade our facilities to help make them safe, warm, and dry for our students. 

How would technology be addressed through this bond?

The Board expects to use approximately $100,000 of bond proceeds for technology improvements throughout the district. We have been providing high-quality technology education, and this bond issue would allow us to continue directly impacting students in this regard.


How soon would the new improvements be completed? 

Upon passage of a bond, design for the first round of bond projects would take approximately nine months, with construction beginning in the summer of 2025 and lasting approximately two years. More detailed schedules will be shared with the community upon passage of the bonds.  


Why did the District not use ESSER funds for these improvements? 

ESSER funds were released as funding support for public schools to utilize to address learning loss that occurred during the COVID-19 Pandemic and covered the increased costs of operations during that time.

Questions from the Community

What provisions will be in place to ensure these contracts go to a Michigan contractor supporting our local community?

The Board of Education emphasizes using contractors who are local if possible but do have an obligation to spend bond dollars (tax dollars) with fiscal responsibility.  They have to balance this while evaluating contractors who bid on various projects. Using a local contractor or contractors is a priority for the Board.  The Board cannot restrict who responds to a bid posting, so they must accept out-of-state, as well as in-state bids.

How will the inevitable overruns be funded and who will be the oversight?

The District works with its construction management partner to manage the budget for the projects and the Department of Treasury has oversight.  The bond work becomes a special category during the district’s annual financial audit and is audited by an independent financial firm and reported to the Department of Treasury.  


I [Superintendent Dave Ehlers] have been a part of three major projects with the district and we have never had an overrun.  The money that is available for a project through bond proceeds is all that is available, if there were to be an issue with costs escalating to endanger work that the bond covered, the district would have to work with the Department of Treasury which has oversight to adjust the work to fit in the bond amount.  The amount financed through the bond is all that is available to do the work.


As the property owners have already seen a 5% increase in taxes this year and billions of state tax dollars funneled to Detroit, what percentage of these projects will be funded from the current tax base, or is 100% to be funded through the proposed bond proposal?

I [Superintendent Dave Ehlers] am unaware of an increase in local taxes as this could not have been done without voter approval.  The Bond proposals that are discussed on the webpage are proposed tax increases for residents of Coloma Community Schools and will only go towards funding projects in the district.  

Questions about the bond? Ask!

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