Riverside School…Renovate or Build?…that is the question

We attended the Riverside School Board this evening and it was the perfect meeting to attend.  They had their consultants discussing the options of spending taxpayers’ money to renovate versus building a whole new school.

Are you ready for some numbers?

The current high school and junior high school is 263,784 square feet.

Based on the new state standards our high school capacity is 824 students, but we have an existing enrollment of 1,063.  The junior high school capacity is 573 students, but our existing enrollment is 735.   Total capacity is 1,397 students and the total existing enrollment is 1,798….so we are about 29% over capacity.

The new master plan calls for 287,000 square feet. An increase of 23,216 square feet  (8.8%) over the existing building.

  1. The estimated costs for the new schools currently under construction was $38.5 million.  They are $2.4 million over budget, but hope to reduce that by selling of the existing old school buildings and land.  They estimate that they will be ~$200 – $300K over budget.  It will be covered by the permanent building fund, so no need to go back to the taxpayers.
  2. In 2013, it was estimated that the cost to renovate the school was $41.8 million.
  3. In 2019, it is now estimated that the cost to renovate and add the square footage will be $66.6 million.
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  4. A new 6 – 12 school will be $78.3 million, but with all the “bells and whistles” it will approach $100 million!

We asked the question how much millage will be required to pay for the $100 million new school.  We were told at a term of 37 years, it will require approximately 4.56 mills.

Let’s do the math on what that means for the taxpayers:

[Remember 1 mill = $35.00 per $100,000 of home valuation]

$100,000 home valuation = 4.56 mills x $35.00 = $159.60 per year
$200,000 home valuation = 4.56 mills x $35.00 x 2 = $319.20 per year
$300,000 home valuation = 4.56 mills x $35.00 x 3 = $478.80 per year
$400,000 home valuation = 4.56 mills x $35.00 x 4 = $638.40 per year
$500,000 home valuation = 4.56 mills x $35.00 x 5 = $798.00 per year

Please remember your HAT % (Housing Affordability Threshold)…..divide your estimated property tax increase by .3 to determine the minimum annual income increase you will need to pay for the tax increase.

For example: If you own a $300,000 house, your increase in property tax will be $478.80 per year, but you will need an extra $1,596.00 ($478.80 / .3) in annual income to avoid moving closer to being priced out of your home.

Although the school board has not decided when to place the levy on the ballot, they did not rule out November 2019 when we asked the question for a date.

Categories: Concord, Lake


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  48. It is very interesting that we see a trend toward “group thought” as opposed to individual thinkers. The new school building will have lot of space for small groups, very similar to what we heard from Morris Beverage we we got the tour of Lakeland Community College.

  49. I don’t know that there is necessarily a correlation between new school buildings and the quality of education. Will a new school building improve the quality of education? Are the current school buildings in such bad shape that they really need to be replaced? Or is it easy to say let’s replace the buildings when we are spending someone else’s money? Will our property values plummet if we don’t replace the buildings in the next five years? In the next ten years?

    The quality of education is much more dependent upon the teachers, the curriculum, and the parental involvement with their students than on the building.

    I think it would be prudent to understand the rationale behind the perceived need for new buildings before deciding whether to support this.

  50. I will be voting yes.
    I’ve never seen a desirable neighborhood with poor schools. We shouldn’t sacrifice our property values and our nice community over an extra few hundred dollars per year. I say that with complete respect for anyone who is struggling, but lowering the value of your property and reducing the quality of our community would not improve anyone’s situation.

  51. Talk to neighbors, friends and family, and ask them to spread the word. If you use social media that is another means to have your opinions heard.

  52. Sounds like they are getting their arms around this. We need to get out and encourage everyone to vote for this levy when it comes up so that we can keep Concord Township a desirable place to live.

  53. How can I help to encourage fellow homeowners to vote no?

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