By Sue Moore
Schoolcraft schools’ $39.9 million bond issue is again up for a vote in the March 10 election. Michigan voters will also choose a Democratic party presidential nominee in the election.
This is the third time a bond issue for the school has been put to a vote in the past six years. The earlier two were defeated. The most recent one in 2019 was close, thus encouraging the Yes for Schoolcraft committee and the school board to try again. Opposition has largely centered upon the large amount, unchanged from last year’s proposal, plus plans to build new elementary and middle school structures and some improvements to the athletic facilities.
A new committee of parents has come together to spearhead the push for the proposal, going door to door with a message that the current buildings are beyond the point of fixing, that the middle and elementary buildings raise huge structural concerns.
Lloyd Peterson, an opponent to the bond issue, has been at school board meetings claiming that the amount of money being sought is too much. “It’s a big chunk, but I’ll live with it either way.” He has a daughter who is a sophomore in Schoolcraft. The family lives in a tiny corner of Texas Township that is in the Schoolcraft school district. He is semi-retired from being a professor at WMU and moonlights as a behavior analyst.
“I support an addition to the high school for the middle school, as I compare including grades 6-8 together to a one-room schoolhouse where each grade was taught according to their skill level. Good teaching is good teaching wherever it may be. I taught in a one-room school in Texas. I believe the people told the school board ‘no’ twice in a row, so having this third election during the primary season is going around the public. We would have had a bigger turn out in November.” He believes that a capital expenditure fund for the school should be set up to save for future construction.
The citizens team in favor of the bond issue say the heating systems are outdated, inefficient and failing. To renovate would cost an estimated $32 million and the buildings would still not have enough space, enough storage, or serve the needs of today’s methods of instruction and learning for students.
The middle school and elementary have small, cramped classrooms that are overcrowded, according to the Yes for SCS campaign literature. Some voters have objected to athletics being included in the bond issue. No major changes are anticipated but it will make improvements to athletic facilities that are deemed unsafe. It will bring these areas up to code, repair serious damage and make them safe, the literature said.
“The bond is the solution to the building problems and a critical part of the school’s long-term plan,” the citizens committee said.