MENOMINEE — The Menominee Area Public Schools Board of Education met in a special meeting Monday to adopt a resolution to put a $44 million bond project to build a new elementary school on the ballot for the May 5 election.

According to Board President Ken Pulver, the resolution states, “In the opinion of this board it is necessary and expedient to ask voters whether to approve a bond project consisting of erecting, furnishing and equipping a new elementary school; remodeling, furnishing and re-furnishing, and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquiring, installing, equipping or re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; and preparing, developing, improving and equipping playgrounds, athletic facilities and the site.” He said this would be the verbiage that appears on the ballot.

Pulver said the estimated total cost of the project will be $44,469,213 dollars. He also said the district would need to borrow $44 million and issue bonds, which would be sold in two stages, with the remaining funds coming from the investment of the bond proceeds.

“Our Unesco friends were surprised (at the verbiage); at one of the task force meetings Becky (Board Member Becky Thoune) looked up the verbiage from the 2012 (bond measure), and everybody said, ‘That’s too verbose, no wonder people get so confused.’ Unfortunately, in order to do what we want to do with the facilities, that is the verbiage that is required,” Pulver said.

This measure would allow the district to tear down and rebuild Central Elementary School and restructure it into a K-5 or K-6 elementary school building, re-purpose Blesch Intermediate School and take care of deferred maintenance projects at Menominee Jr./Sr. High School. This came at the recommendation of the facilities task force, which was comprised of a variety of Menominee citizens who toured the schools and spent several months collecting and reviewing data to reach their conclusion.

According to Superintendent John Mans, the cost to the average taxpayer would work out to be $11.77. “A house valued at $110,000 and assessed at $55,000 would see an $11 a month increase in their property taxes,” Pulver said. He said that selling the bonds in two stages allowed for a lower interest rate than what was initially estimated. He said the task force had suggested that the impact to the average taxpayer should be within the $11-$12 range, which he said was one of the biggest points of consideration for the task force’s decision.

Mans said in the lead-up to the election, Tom Weber, the senior business consultant for Unesco Corp. who facilitated the task force meetings, suggested that the district hold small open houses with touring of the schools and question-and-answer sessions, along with a clear layout of what the tax impact would be and how those numbers were arrived at. “They’ve had really good success that way because people get the answers, and it eliminates conjectures,” he said.

The board voted to adopt the resolution, and it will be placed on the ballot for the May 5 election.