LAKEVIEW — Voter turnout was heavier than expected — 13.9 percent of voters registered — for a proposal that will allow Lakeview Community Schools to borrow up to $12.25 million against a bond to be paid by taxpayers in the district.
According the the county’s unofficial count at 8:30 p.m. — just a half hour after the closing of the polls — the bond passed by a fairly slim margin of 691 to 599 with all precincts reporting.
This will adjust the school system’s current 6.2 mills to 7.0 and extend the current debt. For homeowners within the district owning a home valued at $80,000, this will result in a tax increase of about $3.20 per year.
School administrators, teachers, board members and a small army of volunteers have been working overtime in recent weeks to get the information out to the public and build a strong base of support. According to Lakeview Superintendent Kyle Hamlin, there were a higher than average number of absentee ballots cast.
“I’m not sure what that means in terms of support,” Hamlin said. “We’ve done a lot of work getting out doing face to face in the community.”
The proposal was put together by a steering committee headed up by board member Daryl Johnson. Earlier, Johnson stated that the needs put forth in the proposal were about what the schools could expect the community to “buy into.”
The district will soon begin work on the myriad improvements that will be paid for by the bond. The plan calls for the demolition of Lakeview Elementary School along well as site improvements there. The administrative office addition and gymnasium addition will both remain intact.
The classrooms from the elementary school will be relocated to an expanded Bright Start Elementary, to which classrooms and support areas will be added to accommodate the expanded elementary program. The Bright Start building also will undergo minor remodeling to handle the additional students.
The plan also calls for some remodeling at the middle school. This will include mechanical upgrades, casework, lighting, replacement of the gym wall and the roof and an updated phone system. Additionally, there will be technology upgrades and some new furniture purchased.
The high school will receive a few upgrades to the science areas and selected classroom, which could include lighting, casework, finishes and an improved fire alarm system. Mechanical and other improvements are also in the works.
Additionally, the bus garage will get a new roof and exterior coating designed to hamper water seepage. Finally, some new buses will be purchased.
All of these items were shared with voters weeks prior to Tuesday’s vote. Hamlin admitted that passing a millage in Lakeview can be difficult, particularly in the current economy.
“We have a lot of seniors on a fixed income, living on a tight budget,” Hamlin said. “We were as transparent and honest as we could be and tried to give everyone the info they needed and hope that it was enough.”
MONTABELLA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
Operating Millage Renewal
This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance. Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Montabella Community Schools, Montcalm, Isabella and Mecosta Counties, Michigan, be increased by 18 mills ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 4 years, 2013 to 2016, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2013 is approximately $1,074,629 (this is a renewal of millage which expired with the 2012 tax levy)?
Building and Site
Sinking Fund Tax Levy
Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Montabella Community Schools, Montcalm, Isabella and Mecosta Counties, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed 1.5 mills ($1.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 6 years, 2013 to 2018, inclusive, to continue to provide for a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings and all other purposes authorized by law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2013 is approximately $306,873?