Voters turn down school bond proposals

(Source: WNEM)

Several Mid-Michigan school districts are working on new strategies to reach voters after key bond proposals were voted down.

Voters struck down school bond proposals in the Standish-Sterling district, in Millington and in Vassar.

In just a few weeks students will return to the halls of Vassar Public Schools. School leaders said the aging halls desperately need renovation and repairs.

For the second time this year, voters in Vassar struck down a bond proposal to pay for that project.

"Our first time was in May and we did not pass that. But it was quite a difference that we thought, if we got out there into the community, listened to the concerns, addressed those concerns and we came back here in August with a different bond," Vassar Superintendent Dorothy Blackwell said.

The first attempt was turned down by a little more than 200 votes.

In response, the school board attempted to lower the amount of money spent on renovations. On Tuesday, they were met with the same rejection.

"Obviously, it's disheartening. But I can say that we are pleased that the difference actually was 65 votes. So we made some growth and improvement in getting the message out there. And we're also happy to see that there were more community members who came out to the polls," Blackwell said.

Despite the proposal's failure, Blackwell said the main concern for her right now is on the upcoming school year as well as her students.

"It's all about the kids. We're here for the kids. So we're going to do whatever it takes. We'll come back and regroup, talk to community members to find out where can we make some adjustments. So that we can come back to the community when we're ready," Blackwell said.

It appears most voters are still hung up on the money it would've cost them in higher property taxes. Blackwell said they have considered those costs as well.

"I agree. It's a tax burden for everyone, including myself as a homeowner here. So it's something that as a homeowner, it's something that I have to look at and budget appropriately. But it's an investment in our future," Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the board members will regroup to try and have a revised proposal for the November election.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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