The success of Utica Community Schools is due in no small part to a caring community committed to quality education. When we identify a need, our community responds. Whether it is donating backpacks filled with new school supplies, contacting the Marine Toys for Tots program for drop boxes, sponsoring student scholarships, holding spaghetti dinner fundraisers and canned food drives for those in need, this is a community that cares deeply. Friends helping friends, and families helping neighbors. As I have witnessed time and time again, UCS residents put a high priority on our children.
This year, we heard parents and residents who told us that student safety and security was a priority. Upon hearing those concerns the UCS Board of Education acted, unanimously placing a $155 million bond proposal on the November 6 ballot. This bond proposal is designed to address student safety and security, infrastructure and technology improvements. If approved by voters, every UCS student and every UCS school will be affected.
For years, UCS has strived to be on the forefront of providing career and technical education (CTE) programs that give our students a competitive advantage in career and college pursuits. Our goal is to incorporate specific tools, machinery and workspaces in classrooms to support specialized training in areas such as health care, automation and manufacturing. If approved, this bond proposal would provide school building renovations giving students and teachers technology improvements to develop skills for the jobs of the future.
Our residents have long supported bond issues that have allowed our school district to meet our capital needs and protect the investment the community has made in its school buildings. By law, bond revenue may only be used for capital improvements and not used for operating expenses such as salaries or utilities. This bond has been structured with no change in the tax rate residents are now paying.
We understand that being sound financial stewards is very important to our residents and the district continues to work hard to maintain that trust. For 15 years, UCS has proudly received the highest level of assurance on the district’s financial statements with a rating of “excellent” according to independent auditors Plante Moran. In addition, the district has earned a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from the Association of School Business Officials International for six years running.
Since the beginning of our republic and over the course of U.S. history, scholars have noted a connection between our democracy and public schooling. As citizens, voters are the cornerstone in shaping our communities and their futures. In this issue, we have included candidate-provided profiles for those seeking re-election or a seat on the Board of Education, ballot language for the safety and security bond proposal, as well as a bond proposal quick link.
As friends, families and neighbors, I thank you for your continued commitment to this community and particularly to its youth, who are truly our most important asset.