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Bond FAQ


Looking to the future of Jenison Public Schools, our community will have an opportunity to vote on a school bond proposal on the May 7, 2024 election ballot.  If approved by voters, this bond proposal would provide $117,000,000 for district-wide improvements with no tax rate increase expected.

What is a bond proposal and how can funds from a bond be spent?

A bond proposal is how a public school district asks its community for authorization to borrow money to pay for capital expenditures. Voter-approved bond funds can be spent on new construction, additions, remodeling, site improvements, technology, athletic facilities, playgrounds, buses, furnishings, equipment, and other capital needs. Funds raised through the sale of bonds cannot be used on operational expenses such as employee salaries and benefits, school supplies, repairs & maintenance, and textbooks. Bond funds must be kept separate from operating funds and must be audited by an independent auditing firm.

How would the bond proposal impact my property tax rate?

If approved by voters, the JPS debt millage rate is estimated to remain the same as the current levy with no tax rate increase to property owners.

What was the process to determine what is in the bond proposal?

The District has studied the current and projected needs of school buildings and educational programs to determine a facility master plan. Using this information, supplemented with staff input and a community survey, district leaders and the Board of Education are now asking voters to consider a school bond proposal on the May 7, 2024 election ballot to address the highest priority projects, reimagine teaching and learning spaces, and begin to address long-term plans for the future.

What are the reasons for the bond proposal?

The district has included this proposal on the May 2024 ballot to: 
  • Modernize aging learning spaces: Create space for hands-on, collaborative learning environments, beginning at the 5th-6th level with plans for elementary, Junior High, and Senior High classroom improvements in future phases. 
  • Better support kids, family, and community: Improve safety and security across the district, create age-specific learning communities, and improve spaces in the high school—like the cafeteria, commons, and offices—that are frequently used by both students and the community. 
  • Optimize district efficiencies: Centralize resources on the central campus, create a maintenance and transportation hub, and improve aging community-use infrastructure in the damaged tennis courts, solving safety concerns and adding lines for pickleball.

What are the key projects in this bond proposal?

This bond proposal would seek to address the highest priority projects of the district: 
  • A New Upper Elementary (5th-6th grade) that provides learning spaces that better accommodate upper elementary students and programming and creates space in elementary buildings 
  • High School Improvements for increased safety, security, and functionality—a new main entrance, a new cafeteria and commons, and relocation of the main office and counseling offices at the new entrance

Why a whole new Upper Elementary Building?

A new building would be more cost-effective and more efficient than multiple school additions. It also offers an opportunity for 5th and 6th graders to gain access to educational programs at the Junior High and High School while tailoring learning and social experiences to be more age-appropriate for them. The creation of an Upper Elementary building and new grade structure for PK-6th grade would: 
  • Alleviate building capacity at all elementary schools, allowing 30 previously 5th–6th classrooms to be used for other programs: sensory rooms, teacher lounges, and spaces for social work, psychology, and academic interventions 
  • Create space at KidsFirst for rapidly increasing preschool enrollment by moving TK to the neighborhood elementary buildings 
  • Minimize transitions for our youngest learners 
  • Tailor educational and social environments to more age-specific learning communities 
  • Create modernized learning environments, starting with the new 5th–6th grade classrooms 
  • Centralize music and enrichment opportunities on the central campus, eliminating travel time

After the new Upper Elementary opens, what would be the proposed new grade structure?

With the addition of the Upper Elementary building, the proposed new grade structure would be as follows:

Preschool - ECC/Fairhaven, K-6th - Spanish Immersion, TK-4th - Elementaries, 5th-6th - New Upper Elementary, 7th-8th - Junior High, 9th-12th - Senior High

Where would this new Upper Elementary building be located? Would it affect traffic flow?

See the graphic below. Our strategic master planning process, which included community-use and athletic facility planning as well as traffic studies, revealed this location as the best place for the new building. Traffic flow is being carefully evaluated and calculated into the plan so that the introduction of this new building would actually improve—not hinder—traffic flow on the central campus. The 5th-6th grade building will be on an elementary schedule, so drop-off and pick-up times won’t interfere with secondary building traffic or schedules.
JPS campus

What would happen to the 5th and 6th graders at El Puente?

5th and 6th graders enrolled in the El Puente immersion program would remain in their current space, the upper floor of KidsFirst was designed specifically for older students and has proved effective for their programming. If vacated, those classrooms would not be able to be utilized by younger grade levels. El Puente 5th and 6th-grade students would still have opportunities on the central campus to participate in electives and extracurriculars. 5th and 6th graders at El Puente keep our immersive program environment K-6 intact as it was designed.

What are the anticipated High School improvements?

The proposed improvements to the High School are as follows: 
  • A safer, single-point entry in conjunction with the large parking lot for convenience and flow for students, staff, and the general public 
  • A larger and modernized cafeteria. Modern cafeterias are more than just a place to eat, they can be used all day as spaces for large-group instruction and events 
  • Co-located administration and counseling services to share functional resources, increasing efficiency, collaboration, and security

Will there be more improvements to the High School in the future? What about the Junior High?

More in-depth improvements to the Senior High and Junior High are part of JPS’s facilities master plan that exists to help minimize the impact on taxpayers by phasing improvements according to the evaluated urgency of the projects. Future phases of this 15-20-year plan include learning environment upgrades at all grade levels across the district.

Why a phased approach to modernized learning spaces?

JPS has prioritized the projects in this 2024 proposal to: 
  • Address the highest priority projects first 
  • Improve facilities at as minimal impact on taxpayers as possible 
  • Liberate classroom space first to be able to renovate in future phases 
  • Think long-term to plan for the next 15-20 years
  • Build with the future in mind to ensure that each phase prepares for the next while complementing previous improvements

Why is JPS rebuilding the tennis courts?

  • In an effort to address the aging infrastructure of our community-facing and heavily used facilities, new tennis courts are included in the proposed 2024 bond improvements. The court surfaces are cracking and failing, impacting the playability of the courts and creating a safety concern for student-athletes and the many community members who use the courts. 
  • As part of JPS’ facilities master plan, the courts would be moved to keep all athletics together, easily accessible from the Southeast corner of the campus and creating space to place the Upper Elementary in close proximity to the Junior High and Senior High. 
  • Some of the tennis courts would be striped for pickleball, allowing the community and PE classes to use the courts even more frequently.

What would be included in safety and security upgrades?

The projects that would enhance safety and security include: 
  • Security updates throughout the district 
  • Secure-point entrance at the High School 
  • Improved traffic flow on the central campus

What kind of shape are JPS school buildings in?

Schools across the district range in age from 6 years to 72 years, averaging 52 years old. Over the years, JPS has made improvements to our aging facilities, enhancing fine arts and athletics spaces as well as many mechanical and systems improvements, but many of our classrooms are outdated for current best practices in education. This bond seeks to begin a transformation of learning spaces across the district, beginning with a new Upper Elementary School and initial improvements to the High School, focusing on the heavily used spaces first—a secure front entrance, cafeteria, and relocating offices.

Would money from the bond proposal be used to pay teachers’ salaries and benefits?

No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a bond for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries, routine maintenance, or operating costs. Bond proceeds can only be spent for purposes approved by the voters. Bond revenue must be kept separate from operating funds and expenditures must be audited by an independent auditing firm.


How is a no tax rate increase possible?

The current debt millage tax rate needed to repay the District’s existing debt is 8.50 mills. As the existing debt is repaid, the debt millage rate needed for existing debt will decline. The proposed new bonds have been structured to take the existing debt into consideration to be within the 8.50 mills. Our current projections estimate the total overall debt millage rate to continue at the 8.50 mills until 2031, thereafter it is expected to gradually decline.

Would the approval of the bond proposal have any impact on our current operational budget?

While funding from this bond proposal is independent of district’s general fund operating budget, the bond would likely have a positive impact on the district’s general fund by allowing the district to reallocate operating funds that are currently being spent on aging facilities, mechanical systems, and technology. The operational savings generated from new and cost-efficient facilities could be redirected to student programs and resources.

How can voters be sure the bond funds would be spent the way they are supposed to be spent?

Michigan law requires that the expenditure of bond proceeds be audited. The bond proceeds can only be spent for purposes approved by the voters. The bond cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses. An audit would be completed and filed with the Department of Treasury at the end of each series to ensure compliance.

Is the school district going to immediately issue $117,000,000 of bonds?

No. The bonds are anticipated to be issued in 3 separate series (2024, 2026, 2028) to better match when the funds are anticipated to be expended, allow the total debt millage to be within the current 8.50 mills.

When would the millage for this proposal first be levied?

On the July 1, 2024 property tax bill.

Are businesses and second homes and primary homes treated the same regarding bond millage?

Yes, businesses and second homes (non-homestead properties) and primary homes (homestead properties) are treated the same regarding bond millage. All properties are assessed for debt millage based on their taxable value.


Am I eligible to vote?

To be eligible to register to vote you must be: 
  • A Michigan resident (at the time you register) and a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days (when you vote) 
  • A United States citizen 
  • At least 18 years of age (when you vote) 
  • Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison

How do I register to vote?

  • Visit to register to vote online. 
  • It is recommended by the Secretary of State to register by mail by April 22, 2024, to participate in the May 7, 2024 election. 
  • Individuals may also register in-person at their local clerk’s office through May 7, 2024, with the required documentation. For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit

If I rent a house, can I vote?

Yes, if you rent a house you can still vote. You must be a registered voter in the city or township you are living in and live within the school district’s boundaries.

How is an absentee voter ballot obtained?

  • Registered voters must complete and submit the application to receive their absentee voter ballot. 
  • To vote by mail, fill out the application and sign it, and then return it to your local clerk. 
  • For assistance in obtaining the address of your local clerk, visit 
  • When filling out the application, if you check the box to be added to the permanent absentee voter list, you will get an application mailed to you before every election. 
  • If you registered to vote after absentee voter ballot applications were mailed, applications may be obtained at
  • Absentee voter ballots are available to the general public by March 28 through election day, May 7, 2024.

What are the key dates leading up to Tuesday, May 7, 2024, election day?

  • Registering to vote: 
    • The last day for voters to register by mail is April 22, 2024 
    • Voters may register in-person through Tuesday, May 7, 2024 (election day) with the required documentation 
  • Absentee Voting: 
    • Absentee voter ballots are available by March 28 until Tuesday, May 7, 2024 
    • Contact your local clerk with questions 
  • Attend a public information community presentation: 
    • Tuesday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Jenison Center for the Arts

Where and when will the vote occur?

  • Tuesday, May 7, 2024, is election day, but absentee voting can occur leading up to that date. 
    • All registered voters may cast an absentee voter ballot by mail. 
    • Voters may also cast a ballot at the polling location established by their city/township. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. 
    • If you have questions or do not know where you vote, please contact your city/township office.



With a successful bond election, what are the typical phases essential to completion of a project?

After a successful bond election, bond projects go through a (1) design phase, (2) state approval phase, (3) bidding phase, and (4) construction phase.  For new construction, the design phase portion alone could take at least 12 months before moving into state approval, bidding, site work, and construction. It is important to keep in mind that the timeline for bond project site work and construction cannot disrupt the students’ schedule and therefore must be coordinated with the district’s calendar.

What oversights would hold the district accountable?

If approved by voters, the district’s Architect/Engineer would design the proposed projects and prepare construction documents and specifications for the projects. Once the projects are designed, the district’s Construction Manager will assemble bid packages and publicly advertise to solicit competitive bids for all work. This is required by law, as outlined in the Revised School Code. This process ensures that the district selects the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. All qualified contractors will have an opportunity to attend a pre-bid meeting to obtain additional information and project clarification. All qualified contractors will have the opportunity to participate in the competitive bid process.

When would the state of MI, local fire and police departments, provide input into the bond projects?

Each project will be required to be submitted to both the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) and the Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) for both plan review and permitting. These agencies will review the projects to ensure they comply with applicable codes, before any building permits are issued. Building plans and specifications must be signed and sealed by a Licensed Architect/Professional Engineer before submission. As of 2019, Michigan law requires school districts to consult on the plans for the construction or major renovation regarding school safety issues with the law enforcement agency that is the first responder for that school building. This consultation would happen after a bond proposal has been approved by voters, before construction documents are finalized prior to project commencement.

Info Panel Questions

$117 million is a substantial amount.Can you detail the distribution and utilization of these funds?

This proposal encompasses buildings and their contents, all of which are intended for educational use and designed to serve our community for over 30 years. It's important to note that our planning, decision-making, and purchasing takes into account the durability and longevity required for such an undertaking. Additionally, we must factor in the rising costs of labor and materials, which significantly influence our construction budget.
budget breakdown visual

What does it mean that this bond proposal is part of JPS’ “master plan”?

The May 7 bond proposal represents Phase 1 of the district’s master plan, an active and ongoing process with our architectural and construction teams to maximize the use of district resources over the next 15-20 years. The May 7 bond proposal addresses the initial phase of the priorities identified by our community and staff: creating additional space in all our current elementary buildings. With this extra space, our goal is to begin transforming learning environments into areas that are more collaborative and flexible, to better align with 21st-century teaching and learning.

How would this plan address the issue of heavy traffic congestion and parking challenges on campus?

A detailed traffic study has been completed throughout the district.  While we would address areas of improvement, the plan to have the new upper elementary remain on an elementary schedule is crucial to allowing our campus to adequately handle the increased traffic.

Given that Jenison has successfully passed multiple bonds in the past decade, what necessitates...

Given that Jenison has successfully passed multiple bonds in the past decade, what necessitates the approval of another bond for the district?

Bond proposals allow schools to fund facility improvements without drawing from the operational budget. Each bond proposal, past and present, has been the result of detailed planning efforts to serve the priorities of the district at the time of the proposal’s development. It’s similar to if you did a bathroom remodel in 2012; it’s likely that in 2024 something else within your house is due to be updated or changed. 

The 2024 bond proposal is part of our long-term master planning process, which would begin the transformation of the district’s teacher and learning spaces over the next 15-20 years.

What is the proposed timeline for the projects that would be completed?

Timeline of JPS projects

Many hold the view that it's best to avoid debt and live within one's financial means. How does...

Many hold the view that it's best to avoid debt and live within one's financial means. How does the district justify taking on additional debt?

School districts operate under a different financial model than personal finances or small businesses, as we do not generate revenue through the sale of goods or services. Instead, our funding primarily comes from the state, based on student enrollment, in the form of our Operating Fund. Bond proposals are designed to finance capital projects, such as new buildings and expansions. 

If the bond proposal is approved by the voters, the projects that would be paid for by the bonds would serve the community and be used for many decades. Financing those projects with bonds allows the cost to be spread over multiple "generations" of taxpayers, since multiple generations of students and the community would use the projects. Otherwise, the district's current taxpayers would be required to bear the financial burden all at once for projects that would be used for many decades.

What is the value of the High School’s proposed single-point entry for pedestrian traffic entering..

What is the value of the High School’s proposed single-point entry for pedestrian traffic entering the building?

The single-point entry would be for students, staff, and community entering the building and would be located near the main parking lot. This entry and updated cafeteria would be in conjunction with the relocation of the main offices and student services, which would allow for better monitoring from a safety perspective and be more accessible for students throughout the day.

How would traffic be handled effectively with a new 5th-6th grade building on the central campus?

Planning for the new upper elementary building has gone hand-in-hand with a detailed traffic study throughout the district and communication with the County Road Commission. This new building on the central campus would be on an elementary schedule, which starts before junior high and high school and releases after junior high and high school. We proactively stagger start and end times amongst the current elementaries for busing purposes. We would continue to do so in the new building, which would also help traffic volumes during specific timeframes. 

Sidewalks and foot traffic would be intentionally studied and evaluated in the design phase to ensure our students can safely travel to campus and between buildings and parking lots.

Are there strategies in place to ensure that El Puente's 5th and 6th graders feel a sense of...

Are there strategies in place to ensure that El Puente's 5th and 6th graders feel a sense of connection to the new upper elementary, despite not being physically located within it?

Our goal is to ensure that all 5th and 6th graders, including those not physically located in the new building, feel an integral part of our school community. Our strategies include implementing programs and initiatives that bridge the physical gap between locations. This includes collaboration projects, shared events, extracurricular activities, etc., connecting students across different settings.

Would moving 5th and 6th graders from the elementary buildings cause them to feel like secondary...

Would moving 5th and 6th graders from the elementary buildings cause them to feel like secondary students too early? What measures would be taken to preserve their youthful experience at this age?

The concept of "grade-level neighborhoods" is central to our approach. Our vision of creating smaller, interconnected communities within each building remains. Each neighborhood is designed to support the unique developmental, social, emotional, and academic needs of 5th and 6th graders, fostering a sense of belonging. A playground would also be included at this site which is consistent with all of our other elementaries. 

Inter-grade-level programs for younger students would continue to be available through Kindergarten and 4th-grade buddies and 4th-grade Safeties in addition to those in 5th and 6th grade.

Are there any plans to update the aquatics center?

We conducted a comprehensive assessment throughout the district to determine the path forward with this bond proposal. While there are many projects identified throughout the district, we would continue to evaluate spending to help ensure the pool stays safe and well-maintained.

Would there be a period, potentially a year, during which tennis courts are unavailable due to...

Would there be a period, potentially a year, during which tennis courts are unavailable due to the reconstruction of them?

Anticipated completion is Fall of 2025. It would not interfere with team seasons – the project would construct new tennis courts at a different location so the current courts would not be deconstructed until after the new courts are operational.

Would the reconstruction result in a change to the current count of 16 tennis courts, or would the..

Would the reconstruction result in a change to the current count of 16 tennis courts, or would the number of courts remain unchanged?

It would remain the same with 16 new and relocated courts, that would be lighted, and some lined for pickleball use.

Is the project focused on resurfacing the tennis courts, or would they undergo a complete remodel...

Is the project focused on resurfacing the tennis courts, or would they undergo a complete remodel, including updates to lighting?

No, it is not resurfacing or changing a few courts. It would be completely new courts.

What amount of green space would be lost to accommodate the construction of the new building on...

What amount of green space would be lost to accommodate the construction of the new building on campus?

The new upper elementary would be a two story building and located about where the current tennis courts are. The design of this building would continue to be developed but a two story building allows us to building up instead of spread out in already limited space. The upper elementary would also include a playground because that is a valuable asset to elementary level students.

Can you describe the design and appearance of the new building?

In an effort to best use the current financial resources available to the district, we haven't progressed to the detailed design phase yet. Design would begin shortly after the May 7 election if the bond is approved by voters. Preliminary plans suggest a two-story structure with the main entrance facing 20th Ave.
Have bond related questions? We'd love to answer them! Please email questions to [email protected]

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