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Voters to decide $61 million bond question

No tax increase, but bond period would extend

Caledonia  — To fund remaining projects initially planned with 2020 bond funds, Superintendent Dedrick Martin hopes voters will approve a supplemental bond proposal May 2.

“This is about completing the vision,” Martin said. “Over five years, no one saw the worldwide pandemic coming, no one foresaw inflation at this rate. The dollars we envisioned in the 2020 bond just didn’t extend as far as we needed to today.” 

Since voters passed the 2020 bond, construction costs for bond projects have increased by about 40% and are expected to remain high for the foreseeable future, Martin said.

The 2023 $61 million supplemental bond will help complete the district’s vision of projects started with 2020 bond funds (courtesy)

The $61 million bond would, if approved, fund construction of a new Dutton Elementary, football stadium renovations, and other projects previously removed from the 2020 bond to cut costs.

“A new elementary school will better serve the needs of our students,” Dutton Principal Shawn Veitch said. “Helping our students and community will help continue our track record of success inside and outside of the classroom.” 

The supplemental bond funds are also planned to complete existing projects from the 2020 bond, including renovating facilities, upgrading technology and security, and for Phase 2 of the Calplex athletic complex. 

The bond would not raise existing property tax rates, but would extend the existing school debt repayment period from 2050 to 2055.

Martin said he believed in the district’s track record of success outside of the classroom, and that strong schools build strong communities.

“(The bond) is an investment in our schools, students and teachers,” he said. “We owe it to our current and future students to continue investing in our schools to make them the best they can be.”

He added: “If you have the opportunity to upgrade your academic learning environment and better safety, and it doesn’t increase your tax rate, why would you not vote yes?” 

For more information on the 2023 election, including ballot language and bond updates, visit the district’s website

Read more from Caledonia:
Special election set for Caledonia voters
Communication device enables students to share thoughts, even trash talking

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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