January 19, 2023
Dear Springfield Public Schools Community,
Over the last few months, we have discussed the process related to addressing critical infrastructure needs in our schools in board meetings and community events. Today, I am excited to announce that Springfield Public Schools is pursuing a financial path to invest in our infrastructure, enhance safety and security, and upgrade our learning spaces. The state Department of Education recently gave the go ahead for our district to pursue a bond referendum to give the community a voice – and a vote – on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
Residents will head to the polls that day to consider two questions that capture the district’s critical need to upgrade its infrastructure, add new security features, and complete facilities improvements. Residents will be asked to vote on both questions in order to approve the projects described and secure the available state funding.
The first question includes funding, with no tax increase, for:
- Safety and security upgrades - for all five buildings - that are the new standard in schools, including cameras that capture better quality footage, are motion activated, and connect to a cloud-based video system that police and school staff can access during emergencies, and new exterior doors with ballistic glazing for added protection.
- New heating and ventilation for classrooms, as well as air conditioning for larger spaces, such as cafeterias, gyms, and media centers; and electrical systems that would support these system upgrades.
- Bathroom renovations to improve plumbing and sewer systems and the upgrade of older bathroom fixtures to more efficient ones.
The second question includes funding, with a slight tax increase of less than $8 per month, for:
- Air conditioning upgrades for classrooms at each of the five district schools.
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades to art and music rooms as well as some conference rooms and bathrooms, and a backup boiler for Sandmeier.
- Refreshing the gyms at Dayton and Gaudineer by replacing the window and wall in each with a translucent panel that would seal exterior cracks and allow more light in.
These projects are estimated to cost $32.9 million, and state aid would cover 33% of the project costs. That’s $11.1 million that residents can bring back to Springfield to invest in our school and community.
You are probably wondering what that means for you. The owner of an average assessed home in Springfield ($533,097) can expect to pay no new school debt tax for the first question and less than $8 a month for the projects in question two. You may be wondering ‘how is this possible?’. The first question is tax neutral because the district is close to paying off debt from the last major school improvements and will simultaneously take on new debt at the same price point if the bond referendum passes.
The March 14 vote is important to the future of our school and gives the community a voice. You’ll continue to hear more about the bond referendum as we engage the community in an informational campaign. Check the website, www.springfieldschools.com/referendum, for details on the projects proposed for each school. For questions directly related to the referendum, you can reach out to email@example.com. You’ll also find updates about public forums and more as the March 14 vote nears.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to our schools.
Rachel Goldberg, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools