$200M bond for schools, police funding top ballot requests in Kalamazoo area for May 3 election

$200M bond for schools, police funding top ballot requests in Kalamazoo area for May 3 election


KALAMAZOO, MI – Election Day is approaching and leading the ballot in the Kalamazoo area is a record-breaking bond application for schools and a county-wide mileage for public safety .

Voters will decide whether to fund a nearly $ 200 million bond application for Kalamazoo public schools and a mileage renewal for law enforcement and security on election day on Tuesday 3 May.

Voting in Kalamazoo County also includes applications for funding from other schools in the area, such as Comstock, Gull Lake, Climax-Scotts and Vicksburg.

See below for details on these election initiatives:

Kalamazoo Public Schools:

KPS is asking voters for a $ 197 million bail to build a new El Sol elementary school and fund other facility improvements, such as air conditioning and security improvements.

The bail application, which totals $ 197,135,000, is a 25-year obligation that, if approved, would not raise general tax rates for homeowners, as older debts are paid.

If approved on Tuesday by voters, the new bond, which equates to about 2.31 mills, would keep the district’s debt service mileage rate at 8.2 million, said KPS Deputy Superintendent Jim English , in December when the board approved the question.

The district’s current 8.2-mill debt service costs the homeowner $ 100,000, with a taxable value of $ 50,000, about $ 410 a year.

The 2022 bond would fund a new El Sol primary school, a bilingual primary school located in the Kalamazoo vineyard neighborhood. The original building was built in 1924, according to the district.

The average age of KPS buildings is 60, the district said.

Other investments planned with funds raised through the 2022 bond, if approved, include security enhancements such as secure double-door entrances to schools, improved camera systems and the replacement of old school buses by a modern fleet. safe.

The bond would also fund improvements in air quality, air conditioning, replacement of older infrastructure, such as playground roofs and equipment, energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and equipment replacement. of Fine Arts and Sports Facilities at Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix High Schools.

Finally, the good would fund investments in technology, including Chromebooks, upgrades to classroom audio-visual systems, computer lab refreshments, and upgrades to more efficient, modern phone and printer systems.

A document available online breaks down link projects for school buildings. More information on the KPS 2022 voucher is available on the district website.

Law enforcement and security mileage renewal

Kalamazoo County voters will vote on a 1.43-mill renovation on Tuesday that funds multiple law enforcement and security efforts in the county.

This mileage costs taxpayers $ 143 for every $ 100,000 of their home’s taxable value. It was first approved in 1980 and has been renewed every six years since.

The mileage is used for the prosecutor’s office, the sheriff’s office, the circuit court, the district court, the animal services and the community enforcement and correction department, depending on the language of the proposal.

The millage also funds problem-solving courts, such as drug courts, which get to the root of the problem and help make changes, said Kalamazoo County Commission Chairman Mike Quinn.

The renovation is expected to raise $ 13.6 million by 2022. It will run until 2027.

This year’s renovation at 1.43 mills is slightly lower than the 2016, 2010 and 2004 renovations at 1.44 mills, according to the proposal.

Comstock Public Schools:

Comstock school leaders are applying for a $ 39,430,000 grant application for numerous projects, including the construction of a new STEM Academy, according to a letter from Superintendent Jeff Theones to The Comstock Communicator.

If voters approved, the 30-year bond proposal would increase the residents’ debt tax rate by about 0.5 million. This equates to an approximate $ 25 annual increase for every $ 100,000 in the market value of a home.

Funds are needed to improve Comstock High School and Comstock STEM Academy, built in 1966 and 1949, respectively, Thoenes said.

Planned improvements include the replacement of roofs, lighting, aged flooring and floor tiles, improvements to kitchen equipment, remodeling of existing carpentry, renovation of science rooms and upgrading of modern science lab equipment. renovation of the high school music room and construction of a new high school music room and improvements in educational technology.

Plans also include improvements to the district’s Colt Center site and athletic improvements, such as track resurfacing and drainage / irrigation improvements to baseball and softball fields.

Gull Lake Community Schools:

Gull Lake schools hope to keep the money for facility repairs with the renewal of their repayment fund.

The current amortization fund provides cash for energy improvements, safety and security improvements, and repairs and maintenance to existing facilities, the district said on its website.

The current fund will expire in December and will need to be renewed to keep the money available to the school. Voters approved the fund in 2014.

The district can use the money to replace roofs and boilers, repair existing parking lots and driveways, make safety improvements, and improve existing school buildings. The district said the amortization fund cannot be used for employee salaries or for the purchase of real estate, technology or school buses.

The district is asking voters to renew the fund for nine years at the current tax rate. If approved, the renewal will not increase taxes for district residents.

The current mileage rate on Lake Gull is 6.3 mills. A homeowner with a taxable value of $ 50,000 pays $ 315 a year to fund district mileage. The amortization fund represents $ 0.64 mills, or $ 32 annually for that taxpayer.

If renewed, the repayment fund will raise about $ 706,000 a year, for a total of about $ 6.4 million in nine years, the district said.

Vicksburg Community Schools:

Vicksburg is seeking to renew its non-residential operating mileage, a requirement for Michigan schools to receive state funding.

In order for schools to receive the full foundation grant per student from the state for operating expenses, districts must impose 18 mills on non-owned properties. The tax does not apply to primary housing, but rather to industrial and commercial real estate and secondary housing.

Vicksburg Superintendent Keevin O’Neill said the operating mileage helps fund the district’s general fund, which covers teachers’ salaries, student programs, services and other day-to-day operations. If not renewed, he said the district would lose about $ 2.1 million in state funding, or about 7 percent of the annual general fund budget.

He said the Vicksburg operating millage was first approved by voters in 1994 and has since been renewed every five years.

On May 3, Vicksburg voters are specifically asked to renew 18,0902 mills ($ 18.0902 for every $ 1,000 of taxable valuation) for five years, from 2023 to 2027, inclusive, and also to increase by 0 .5 million ($ 0.50 for every $ 1,000 of taxable valuation). ) for a period of 6 years, 2022 to 2027.

This mileage is to renew the mileage that will expire at the rate of 2022 and to restore the mileage lost as a result of the reversal of the Headlee Amendment, which occurs when property tax values ​​grow faster. than the cost of living index. This only allows the district to collect the full 18 mills. By state law, districts may not charge more than 18 mills.

If the mileage is approved and 18 mills are charged in 2022, Vicksburg schools would raise approximately $ 2,085,000.

Climax-Scotts Community Schools:

At Climax-Scotts, school leaders have two separate ballot proposals, one asking voters to approve the renewal of the non-residential millennium and a second proposal calling for an increase of two mills to restore a loss of funding.

The district’s current mileage rate dropped to about 17.5 mills in 2020 due to the Headlee amendment, Superintendent Douglas Newington said in a letter to residents.

That’s why Climax-Scotts voters will decide separately whether to renew the district’s reduced mileage rate by about 17.5 mills and approve an increase in the mileage rate to restore total mileage. in operation of 18 mills in the district, Newington said.

The first proposal asks district voters if the current mileage rate of 17.5864 mills ($ 17.5864 for every $ 1,000 of taxable valuation) can be renewed for five years, from 2024 to 2028, inclusive, to provide funds for operational purposes. If approved and charged in 2024, the district would raise approximately $ 338,892. This is a mileage renewal that will expire at the rate of 2023.

The second proposal asks if mileage can be increased by 2 mills ($ 2.00 for every $ 1,000 of taxable valuation) for seven years, from 2022 to 2028, inclusive, to provide funds for operational purposes. If the mileage is approved and collected in 2022, the district would raise approximately $ 7,814. This mileage is to restore the mileage of a Headlee reduction.

To learn more about the May election, check the status of your voter registration, or find your local polling place, visit michigan.gov/vote.

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