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$37 million no-tax rate increase bond request on May 7 

Kenowa Hills — Kenowa Hills is asking voters on May 7 to consider a zero millage tax rate increase over the current tax rate to fund additions and upgrades to outdoor activity and learning spaces.

Approval would generate $37 million for the district to use toward building safety improvements, new baseball and softball athletic complexes, turf and lighting installation, tennis and pickleball courts and a multi-purpose field for soccer and lacrosse. 

The district also plans to buy 45 acres of land for a one-mile cross-country course and outdoor learning space. A purchase agreement with the local owner is contingent on passage of the bond. 

At a series of informational meetings, Superintendent Gerald Hopkins assured families and community members the current tax rate would not increase. 

“We have one of the lowest debt millage rates in our region and we have the capacity for more without changing the current millage rate,” he said. “Our youth athletic programming has grown so much, we don’t have enough dedicated space for sports and activities.”

Hopkins said investing in athletic facilities will engage current students and families and generate revenue to help offset costs.

“When you invest in your district, it attracts families to live in your community and go to your schools,” he said. “We want to make our spaces accessible for families and our taxpayers who don’t have students in our schools.” 

Voters previously passed a $67 million bond in 2020, focusing on the early childhood center, middle and high school renovations and upgraded technology. Phase 1 upgrades at the ECC were completed in fall 2022 and Phase 2 is planned to start in early 2025.

An overview of Kenowa Hills’ plans if the zero millage increase bond proposal passes on May 7

Building improvements, parking lot configurations and secure entrances throughout the district would be completed by 2032, as a result of successful 2016 and 2020 bond requests.

Hopkins said the goal is to “put shovels in the ground by fall 2024” to start working on the new projects in phases over the next three years.

Read more from Kenowa Hills: 
A veteran superintendent looks back on 10 eventful years
Athletics, arts and academics come together in new regional conference

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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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