- Sponsorship -

Wyoming Bond Proposal to Fund Construction

The Wyoming Board of Education is making a second attempt to get a construction bond request passed by voters, this time breaking it into two proposals and doing more to spread the word about the need for improvements.

Following the failed May vote on a $53 million proposal, the Board of Education voted in July to seek ascaled-back $49 million version of the request on the Tuesday, Nov. 5 ballot broken into two parts: Proposal 1 is for $37 million to fund security measures for school offices and entrances, additional classroom and instructional space and a completely remodeled high school. The second proposal, for $12.22 million, would fund a new Applied Arts Community Center and athletic complex upgrades.

If Proposal 1 is approved, the current millage will increase by 2.59 mills, costing the average homeowner with a $90,000 home $99 annually. If Proposal 2 is also approved, the current millage will increase by 3.49 mills, costing $133 annually. The $53 million proposal in May failed by 1,477 to 1,268.

Explaining the need

Wyoming Superintendent Thomas Reeder said the funds are needed for several reasons. “Our school sites are all approaching 50 years or are older; this means they were developed in a totally different era and need some upgrading that the district cannot afford with its operational dollars.”

Consolidating sites over the past decade has saved money, but those funds contributed to the operational costs of maintaining staff numbers and toward ongoing facility needs, he said. “Circumstances are that our school sites have entrances, offices, and in some cases pick-up/drop off areas that are not as safe as we would want them to be.”

The district’s art and music programs lack dedicated space, and schools have made do with classrooms, lunch rooms or other spaces without appropriate seating and acoustics. When schools were built decades ago, students went off site for lunch, students walked or rode the bus, and parents were rarely at school, Reeder explained.

Now, extracurriculars, closed campus lunch and an increased number of parents picking up and dropping off students have made entrance spaces and hallways crowded. Students are limited to using outside areas to gather and move.  Better traffic flow through hallways is needed, Reeder said.

To address space concerns in the meantime,  West Elementary has been relocated to the the former Newhall Middle School site at 1840 38th St. SW, along with some early childhood classrooms. The district has also redrawn some elementary school boundary lines to ease crowding. 

The district has closed several school buildings in recent years. Though Newhall is reopening, Reeder is not looking into reopening more because of the cost involved operating them. 

“More sites, more cost for administration, busing, secretarial… that takes away from the classroom. It is also is a huge disruption for parents,” he said.

Rallying for support

A group of parents are joining forces to spread word of the bond through the Wyoming Public Yes! campaign.

Volunteers and administrators recently canvassed neighborhoods to share information on the bond and pass out Golden Passes to allow seniors for free admission to athletic events.

Parent and local business owner Kristin Britten, whose children attend Wyoming Middle School and Wyoming High School, has worked with the group of parents passing out T-shirts, brochures and other information in support of the bond. Volunteers attended Wyoming Concerts in the Park Tuesday evenings to share information.

The goal is to clarify why the bond is needed and clear up misconceptions on how bond money can be spent. The group initially formed prior to the first vote, but is increasing efforts this time around, she said.

Britten said passing the bond is important for students and the community as a whole, which benefits from a strong school system.

Connect: Wyoming Bond Social Media

Bond Fund Allocation Details

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Longtime volunteer does whatever’s needed for school: ‘I love being here’

A 24-year parent and grandparent volunteer tends to student and family needs at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy...

Lessons from a pandemic: ‘agile learners’ need ‘agile adults’

Reflecting on the end of fall semester and 2020, Superintendent Dedrick Martin sat down with School News Network to discuss how Caledonia adapted to school closures, virtual learning and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic...

It’s all about getting students back to classrooms, Supt. Shibler says of the vaccine

Superintendent Michael Shibler hopes the more people get vaccinated, the closer we are to the end of the pandemic...

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Virtual counseling office offers ‘one-stop’ services

The site offers new ways for students to connect, on anything from academic questions to mental health issues...

Pivoting from caretaker to virus tracker

Before Wyoming Public Schools switched to fully remote learning, registered nurse Amy Kamphuis spent the majority of her days tracking COVID-19 data to keep up with positive cases and students and staff who are quarantined...

Babysitting an apple

Ninth-graders wrote apple adventures during the weeklong “35 Ways to Babysit an Apple” project in English teacher Jeremy Schnotala’s class. The writing project inspires creative narratives and lots of drama...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU