Saginaw Twp School District faces backlash for ballot proposal

Saginaw Township's School District is asking voters for help to the tune of nearly $243 million to improve its buildings.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 6:43 PM EDT
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SAGINAW TWP., Mich. (WNEM) – Saginaw Township’s School District is asking voters for help to the tune of nearly $243 million to improve its buildings.

While some residents are in support, others say it’s too big of an ask.

“Perhaps there are some critical fixes that may be needed but shouldn’t we maybe hit the pause button on this big ask and rethink how we go about the funding on it,” Saginaw County Commissioner Richard Spitzer.

Spitzer and Thomas Roy, a Saginaw Township resident, said they will be voting “No” on a May 2023 ballot proposal for Saginaw Township. The $242.9 million bond would help renovate all school buildings and rebuild the high school.

“I think it’s too big of a ask at a quarter of a billion dollars. And it’s just unaffordable for a great many residents of the township,” Spitzer said.

To pay back the loan, it would seek an initial $6 million property tax increase. But they said that comes with interest the residents also have to pay back. They anticipate it will ultimately cost taxpayers $7.89 million over the next 36 years.

“Twenty-eight percent of the people are living on fixed incomes, which are living check to check. They also have to worry about electricity bills, gas bills, and they have to worry about all the ordinary things that normal people worry about,” Roy said.

Spitzer and Roy agree that they are not against the school receiving necessary upgrades, but believe there are other ways to do it.

“In my opinion, I think we should look everywhere we possibly can instead of always looking at the taxpayers. We use the taxpayers as an ATM and it’s like, it’s going to run out,” Roy said.

“We are already one of the most heavily taxed counties in the country. And to add this on top of it is just beyond belief,” Spitzer said.

They said the commission needs to talk to state and local law makers to invest more into the schools and remove that burden from taxpayers.

The district is holding several public town halls throughout the month for residents to learn more about the proposal. The meeting on Wednesday, April 5 will be at White Pine Middle School at 6 p.m.

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