Six districts in Kent ISD asking for funding on Tuesday ballot

Six school districts in Kent ISD have tax requests on the election ballot next Tuesday, Nov. 5. Here is a breakdown of what they’re asking for. 

Caledonia Community Schools 

REQUEST: The district is asking voters to restore full funding to its state-authorized, 18-mill property tax on non-homestead properties, such as industrial, commercial, and vacation properties. The millage had been reduced by the Headlee Amendment, which limits growth in property tax value to the rate of inflation. 

The proposal asks voters to authorize an additional 1.8 mills for 2020, enabling the district to levy the full 18 mills plus provide a buffer if the rate were reduced by Headlee again. Officials say it would generate approximately $329,000, including funds for more teachers, security, and music, athletics and STEM programs.     

COST: No cost to homeowners. The cost to non-homestead property owners is .3601 mills.  For properties with an equalized value of $250,000 that equates to $90. 

DETAILS: Caledonia Community Schools information

STORY:  District tries again for Headlee override to restore full funding

Cedar Springs Public Schools

REQUEST: The district is asking voters to approve an $81 million bond issue. It would pay for a new school for eighth and ninth graders, additional space at elementary buildings and upgraded technology.

The district’s last bond was issued in 2002, said Superintendent Scott Smith, adding the district is projecting to enroll nearly 4,200 students by the year 2030, compared to 3,600 currently.

COST: The district’s debt tax rate would increase by approximately 0.90 mills. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 market value home an estimated $45 per year. 

DETAILS: Cedar Springs Public Schools information

STORY: Bond proposal addresses space needs, graduation configuration

Grandville Public Schools 

REQUEST: A two-part bond proposal totaling about $123.4 million, to fund improvements including a new middle school, preschool and swimming pool, and other improvements to technology, robotics and security.

COST: Proposal 1 would increase the debt levy in 2020 by about 1.85 mills. Proposal 2, for the school/community swimming pool, would increase the 2021 levy by about 0.69 mills. Both would cost the owner of a $100,000 market-value home about $137.50 per year. 

DETAILS: Grandville Public Schools information

STORY: Bond proposals would fun new schools, pool, safety and technology upgrades

Kent City Community Schools

REQUEST: The district is requesting approval of a bond issue that would generate approximately $21.9 million. It would pay for improvements including more secure building entrances, modernized science classrooms and science labs, building renovations and other facility repairs and replacements. 

COST: The current debt millage of 8.25 mills would be extended. For the owner of a $100,000 market value home cost would continue to be $412.50. 

DETAILS: Kent City Community Schools information

STORY: District seeks funds for safety, technology & general upgrades

Sparta Area Schools

REQUEST: A 10-year renewal of the district’s existing sinking fund, generating approximately $640,000 annually for facility repairs. A previous request failed in May, but that included an additional levy and items other than repairs. If the proposal is defeated again the current sinking fund will end this year. 

COST: The current 1.2373 mills would continue to be assessed, costing the owner of a home valued at $100,000 less than $5 per month.

DETAILS: Sparta Area Schools information

STORY: Sparta sinking fund renewal on Nov. 5 ballot

Thornapple Kellogg Schools 

REQUEST: A $42.8 million bond to address the district’s continuing growth, aging infrastructure and enhanced learning environments, including construction of a new learning center and added elementary classrooms.  

COST: Officials do not expect the millage rate to increase, due to an increase in property values and extending the district’s current bond debt. 

DETAILS: Thornapple Kellogg Schools information

STORY: No-increase bond proposal would create learning center, expand buildings

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

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