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New building, no new taxes, say district officials

A new third-through-fifth-grade elementary building is on the horizon for Kelloggsville students if voters approve a $19.2 million bond request this fall.

The best news? “It would not increase the taxes of any of our community members,” said Jeff Owen, director of education supports for the district. “It would simply be a continuation of an existing levy, so no new taxes and we’d get a brand new building for our students.” The current millage rate is 7.32.

The issue will appear at the bottom of the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and is part of a long-term plan to update and modernize the district’s elementary schools, Owen said. The bond cannot exceed 30 years.

Taxpayers approved a 2015 bond that allowed for major renovations at the high school. The middle school is 20 years old, and the three elementary schools are about 60 years old, said Owen. East and West elementaries house students in kindergarten to third grade, and Southeast Elementary is home to the district’s fourth- and fifth-graders.

District enrollment is at an all-time high, said Owen, with around 2400 students in its schools.

The Specifics

Here is a look at what residents can expect to see if voters approve the bond request, authorized by the school board in June:

  • Spring 2020: Construction would begin on the new third, fourth and fifth grade building. Building highlights include two stories, a wing for each grade, a stand-alone cafeteria, separate art and music rooms, and a new playground and soccer field. The proposed location is 4650 S. Division SE, between East Elementary and the middle school.
  • Spring 2021: East Elementary would be demolished and replaced with expanded parking and athletic practice fields.
  • Fall 2021: The new building would open and Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary would reopen as a K-2 building, absorbing students from the former East Elementary. West Elementary would also be a K-2 school.

Other highlights of the proposal include new playgrounds at Southeast and West elementaries and safety and security upgrades.

One facet that played into the new grade configuration under the proposal is the new third grade reading law.

“We have K-3 buildings. Well, if we’re at a 3-4-5 building, if a student is not reading at grade level, they can still move on to fourth grade but still  receive instruction at a third-grade reading level,” Owen said.

The district is conducting an informational campaign to let the community know what’s included in the proposal. So far, information has been shared at community events, via a print brochure, and the district’s website and on its Facebook page.

Architectural rendering of the first floor of a proposed new elementary building for Kelloggsville schools

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Bridie Bereza
Bridie Bereza
Bridie Bereza hails from Lansing and has worked in the Grand Rapids area as a reporter, freelance writer, and communicator since graduating from Aquinas College in 2003. She feels privileged to cover West Michigan's public schools and hopes to shed a little light on the amazing things happening there through her reporting.

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