More than 200 Mason residents gathered at the James C. Harvey Education Center on Wednesday evening to break ground on the first major project resulting from the successful passage of the $69.7 million bond proposal – the largest in District history.
“This is a game changer for Mason Public Schools,” said Superintendent Ron Drzewicki in his opening remarks. “We’re here to celebrate how this project, and all the projects to come as a result of this bond proposal, will help us build a strong, smarter, safer Mason Public Schools.”
School Board President Kurt Creamer proudly shared a variety of District accomplishments. For the past four years, Mason’s school rankings have steadily improved. Based on the Michigan School Index System, all three of Mason’s elementary schools rank in the top 9% statewide. Out of 42 elementary schools in Ingham County, all three Mason schools are in the top 10: Steele Elementary is #4, Alaiedon Elementary is #8 and North Aurelius Elementary is #9.
Test scores for Mason Public Schools have also drastically improved. In 2014, Mason students’ MSTEP and SAT scores showed that only 17% of tested grades and subjects were scoring in the top third of Ingham County scores. This year’s MSTEP scores show that 73% of Mason’s tested grades and subjects are in the top third in the county. SAT scores for 2018 have yet to be released, but the District’s hard work to improve student learning has leadership optimistic about strong performance.
The District’s fiscal position has also improved under current leadership, most strongly reflected by the increase in the Fund Balance – more commonly referred to as the “rainy day fund,” explained Creamer. “Back in 2015, we had a Fund Balance of 5.1% - not a good enough number to operate on. Fast forward just three years and we’re at 15.3%. We’ve almost tripled our rainy day fund, and we are now number one in the county for Fund Balance.”
The $69.7 million raised by the bond means Mason Public Schools will be able to continue along its positive trajectory. This includes making the spaces in the schools better suited for teaching and learning, updating technology infrastructure to maximize connectivity and access, and securing the schools for the safety of students and staff. Projects began in 2018 and will continue through 2026. More information about the bond and the capital improvements projects is available at http://bondprojects.masonk12.net/ [bondprojects.masonk12.net].
The groundbreaking event was free and open to the entire Mason community. Many local sponsors generously supported this event, including A&W, Jasen Filipiak, Mason Optimist Club, Mason Rail Time Adventures and Sheridan Realty & Auction Co. The family-focused event featured bounce houses, a fun house, carnival rides, food and more.