Schoolcraft Schools Consider Bond Issue for Building Repairs and New Middle School

A large crowd of Schoolcraft area citizens, packed the School Board meeting in February.
A large crowd of Schoolcraft area citizens, packed the School Board meeting in February.

By Morgan Macfarlane

The Schoolcraft Citizen’s Advisory Council presented bond issue options to the Board of Education in February about possible solutions to the infrastructure needs.

Bobbie VanZile and Jason Walther, Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) co-chairs, met six times with 36 people including representative from the Board of Education, Schoolcraft staff and administration, and community members.  The group discussed the current debt and history of Schoolcraft Schools’ bonds, as well as the needs of each of the individual buildings. The CAC members also toured the Early Elementary, Elementary, Middle School, and the Ken Krum Center and all athletic facilities.

From there the CAC considered their findings and decided upon the best option to present to the school board. They started with five options that either made improvements to buildings or shut buildings down.  A vote was taken by the group to decide which option to present to the school board with the school trustees abstaining from the voting, due to this being a community project. The first round of voting eliminated three of the options, leaving two left.

Between the two options, option five won. Option five would close the Middle School and turn it into a parking lot. The plan would turn the Early Elementary School into a community center. The Elementary School would be remodeled to accommodate Pre-K to 4th grade. The high school would be added onto for classrooms and auxiliary gym just for Middle School students and be totally separate from the high school, but share the band room and cafeteria.

Questions posed to Vanzile and Walther included whether the concept of adding high school and middle school together would work. They pointed out that there would be a Middle School wing, and that high schoolers and middle schoolers would not be interacting. Vanzile and Walther also brought up the fact that currently the Middle School and High School share many teachers, thus making bringing closer to each other physically.

Projects under consideration include:

  1. Improved classroom furniture and technology upgrades to support 21st Century learning.
  2. Replacement of roofs, heating units, parking lots, lighting and bathroom update.
  3. Athletic, maintenance, transportation, food service equipment improvements and upgrades.
  4. Transitioning to a two building district.

If a bond proposal were to be brought to the public, it would likely be placed on the August primary ballot, Dr. Stitt said.  The cost of the bond issue as it is now configured would be $13.7 million, extending the current 7.5 mills to 2039/40.

The next step is to hold community forums to discuss the proposal in more detail. They are scheduled for Monday, February 24 at 7:30 and Thursday, February 27 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

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