Voters nix $50.7-million Saugatuck school bond request
By Scott Sullivan
Saugatuck Public Schools voters flunked the district’s $50.7-million bond and sinking fund proposals Tuesday.
The district’s request to raise property owners’ tax rates approximately 1.17 mills for 25 years failed by an unofficial 1,005 to 719 tally. A proposal to extend its .5-mill sinking fund for five years was turned down 968 to 779. Final counts have yet to be certified by the Allegan County Board of Canvassers.
The increases would have cost the owner of a $300,000 home roughly $175 a year or $15 a month, school officials said.
Much of the Saugatuck High School building is 44 years old. Its middle school addition was built in 2001. Douglas Elementary School was built in 1957, with the most recent additions and renovations occurring in 2008.
The State of Michigan defines the useful life of a school building at 40 years, district officials said.
Passage, they said, would improve the schools through long-term strategic planning and infrastructure upgrades including:
- Replacing roofing.
- Updating mechanical systems for heating and cooling
- Improving parking and traffic flow.
- Buying buses to replace some of the aging fleet.
- Buying land for a new bus garage and future community recreation use.
- Building a new middle/high school music and band suite, plus a dedicated middle school art room.
- Transforming outdated media centers into modern learning commons with integrated technology.
- Adding new makerspaces (community centers with tools).
- Enhancing hallways into collaborative learning spaces.
- Transitioning cafeterias to multi-purpose spaces.
- Creating new staff collaboration spaces.
- Building a welcoming natural aesthetic with better access to daylight and outside views.
- Introducing flexible and functional storage and furniture.
- Redesigning imaginative playground and outdoor learning spaces.
Officials voiced disappointment the proposals failed but said efforts would continue to keep facilities up to date.