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Districts come to voters with funding proposals May 5

Absentee voting urged, polling places limited

Though in-person K-12 instruction in Michigan schools has stopped, district funding needs have not. 

Seven school districts in Kent ISD have funding requests on next week’s Tuesday, May 5 election ballot, ranging from major bond issues and sinking funds to non-homestead operating millage renewals. 

Voters are being urged to vote from home by absentee ballot to limit possible spread of the coronavirus. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in election jurisdictions in late March. Voters who still don’t have one can apply online (see box). Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. 

Need an Absentee Ballot? 

Voters can fill out an absentee ballot application online, scan it and send the signed application to either their local municipal clerk or to Kent County Elections Director Gerrid Uzarski at gerrid.uzarski@kentcountymi.gov.  Once you receive and fill out your ballot, it can be delivered by mail or dropped off at your city or township hall drop box in a sealed envelope. The back of the envelope must be signed or the ballot will be rejected, Uzarski said.

A limited number of polling places will be open for in-person voting, but social distancing guidelines will be observed. Voters will be handed absentee ballots at the polls to fill out and turn in. 

Following is a summary of local school districts’ funding requests. For more information go to your district’s website and past SNN stories, as listed. 

Byron Center Public Schools

REQUEST:  An $80 million bond proposal to fund construction of a new building for fifth and sixth graders, and the renovation of the current fifth- and sixth-grade building, Nickels Intermediate School, into a fourth elementary building for kindergarten through fourth graders.  

COST: The request would not require a tax increase, but would extend existing debt.

DETAILS: Byron Center Public Schools information

STORY: Districts seeks $80 million to build new 5th/6th grade building 

Caledonia Community Schools 

REQUEST: An $88.09 million bond proposal for the construction of a new elementary school and athletic complex. The bond will also address safety and security, repairs and upgrades to facilities.

The district is also asking for a separate five-year renewal of the district’s 18-mill non-homestead operating levy. 

COST: The bond is a zero-tax-increase proposal that would extend the current 7-mill levy for 30 years. The operating millage renewal is also a zero-tax-increase proposal.

DETAILS: Caledonia Community Schools election information

STORY: Bond approval would fund new elementary building, athletic complex

Comstock Park Public Schools

REQUEST: The district is asking voters to restore full funding to its state-authorized, 18-mill property tax on non-homestead properties. Approval would continue the district’s ability to levy the full 18 mills through 2030 and allow it to receive its full per-pupil funding from the state of Michigan. Total annual revenue generated is approximately $2.6 million.

COST: No cost to homeowners. The operating millage is only levied on non-homestead property including businesses, commercial and investment properties, vacation homes and rental properties.

DETAILS: Comstock Park Public Schools 

STORY: Voters to consider non-homestead millage renewal

Godwin Heights Public Schools

REQUEST: A bond proposal that would bring in $13.9 million for improvements including: roofing assessments and possible repairs; a new boiler; improved heating and cooling controls; new carpeting, doors, and windows; new vans and buses; renovations at the track and baseball field; new band instruments; and student technology upgrades.

COST: The proposed bond would not increase taxes. Rather, it would extend the current millage rate and constitute the second phase of a vision that started with a bond proposal approved by voters in 2015.

DETAILSGHPS Bond 2020 Video

STORY: Voters on May 5 to decide no-increase $13.9 million bond request

Kelloggsville Public Schools 

REQUEST: A 1.0-mill sinking fund request totaling approximately $4.2 million. Projects identified include new carpeting, playground upgrades, parking lot resurfacing and new roofs.

COST: Approval would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about 96 cents a week.

DETAILS: Kelloggsville Public Schools information

STORY: Kelloggsville voters to decide sinking fund request

Kenowa Hills Public Schools

REQUEST: A $67 million bond issue for improvements and renovations to the high school, middle school and Early Childhood Center. Highlights include modernized classrooms, including a new, premier STEM room in the high school; a renovated Performing Arts Center; new band and orchestra instruments; and upgraded technology. 

COST: The district’s debt tax rate would increase by approximately 0.26 mills. For a $100,000 market value home, this equates to an estimated increase of $1.08 per month, or $13 per year.

DETAILS: Kenowa Hills Public Schools Information

STORY: Voters to decide May 5 on $67 million bond proposal

Northview Public Schools

REQUEST: A $36.7 million, no-mill increase bond request for building and systems improvements throughout the district.

COST: No tax increase is expected based on current interest and 3% taxable value growth. The bond millage rate is estimated to remain at 6.308 mills through 2026, then to decline.

DETAILS: Northview Public Schools bond information – includes breakdown by building

STORY: Northview voters to decide no-increase school improvements proposal

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