By Travis Smola
The Schoolcraft school board devoted a good amount of discussion at its September meeting to final preparations for the Nov. 5 vote on a proposed $39 million bond issue that would mean a three-mill tax increase for school district residents.
A key part of the meeting was a rendering designed to show residents locations of the proposed new pre-K through sixth grade building and seventh through eighth grade addition to the high school to be built with the bond proceeds. It also shows potential parking areas and pick-up and drop-off locations for students.
Board President Jennifer Gottschalk stressed that the rendering was not a final design. It was made to give voters an idea of what they were thinking.
“This is by no means a done deal,” Gottschalk said. “This is very conceptual.”
Trustee Wade Rutkoskie echoed Gottschalk’s thoughts while adding that once a bond is passed, they will enter a design phase to get a more definitive idea on things like square footages and the actual placement of the new buildings. Gottschalk also noted the rendering leaves space on land owned by the district for expansion many years down the line if necessary.
She also urged other trustees to get out in the community and talk to as many people as possible. Gottschalk thanked them for what they had already done and praised a few members of the community who have been out trying to spread the word on the issue.
Vice President Jason Walther asked trustees if there was anything they were forgetting about while noting that he liked the rendering they were presenting to the public. Trustee Rachel Phelps expressed some concern about the proximity of the bus loading zone to the buildings and potential problems with children being picked up by their parents on that side of the building.
Superintendent Rusty Stitt said they have considered that matter, but they have an idea on the timing of releases and bus movements at the end of the school day. The timing would be such that students would already be cleared out of those areas before the buses left. “We don’t see them merging at all because students will be gone,” Stitt said.
Compared to now, where elementary and middle school students are dangerously loading and unloading directly onto Clay Street, Stitt called the proposed new loading zones a “dream come true.”
The board also set up three more open house tours where the public can inspect current facilities – 4-6 p.m., September 29 and October 6 and 20. Gottschalk recommended trustees educate everyone they know about their website: scs-bond.com, and important dates for absentee ballots, especially for residents who may be heading south for the winter.