Hamilton Community Schools seeking voter support for $21.6M bond for new classrooms, building repairs – MLive.com

Elections

Hamilton Community Schools is asking voters to consider an 18-year, $21.6 million bond proposal that will help fund building repairs and the construction of eight new elementary classrooms.

ALLEGAN COUNTY, MI – Hamilton Community Schools is asking voters to consider an 18-year, $21.6 million school improvement bond on the Nov. 2 election ballot.

The bond would help fund districtwide repairs and the construction of eight new classrooms at Hamilton Elementary School.

In August 2020, a district bond proposal for $65.6 millions was voted down 2,990 to 1,840.

“Based on community feedback, and out of financial responsibility to district taxpayers, the Board of Education is now asking the community to consider this smaller proposal that focuses on immediate facility needs on November 2, 2021,” according to the district website.

Over the last year, Hamilton school leaders drastically scaled back its plans for this bond proposal. The district cut back the total cost of proposed bond projects by $43.9 million, removed plans for a new middle school building and a new community center, and now boasts no projected tax rate increase to property owners over 2021 debt tax levy.

Supporting the proposal will not increase taxes above current tax rates next year because the district will have paid off two prior bond payments by the next tax levy, decreasing the district’s debt, said district spokesperson Jeremy Gonsior.

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2022 is 1.85 mills ($1.85 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a 0-mill net increase over the prior year’s levy, according to the ballot language. The 1.85 in new bonds would be added to the 2.50 mills currently being levied from existing bonds for the total estimated 2022 millage rate of 4.35-mill, said Thomas Lagone, director of finance and operations.

Under the proposal that failed, the rate would have increased. If approved, here are some of the immediate school projects that stayed the same from the 2020 proposal:

  • Infrastructure repairs and replacements throughout the district for roofing, electrical systems, lighting, flooring, plumbing, boilers, doors, interior finishes, and lockers
  • Deconstruct 1950′s wing at Hamilton Elementary, construct 8-classroom addition including special education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
  • “Flex space” addition at Hamilton High School that can be used for large group instruction, testing, band, athletics and more
  • Replace dehumidification system at community pool
  • Replace aging school buses
  • Purchase educational technology as needed

The district’s total bond millage rate is expected to remain at 4.35 mills until 2025, and then it will start to decline as previous bonds expire, according to a FAQ sheet provided by the district.

Hamilton schools is in Allegan County but is among the 11 public school districts in the Ottawa County ISD. There is a small portion of Allegan County residents that are also residents of Holland that are eligible to vote on the bond proposal. Currently, 387 registered voters can weigh in on the bond request.

Muskegon’s Ravenna Public Schools $5.3 million bond is also on the Ottawa County ballot. There are currently 552 registered voters in the Ravenna school district portion of Chester Township.

Spring Lake Public Schools in Ottawa has an operating millage on the Nov. 2 ballot that will allow the district to continue levying 18 mills only on non-homestead properties including all commercial, business, rental, vacant land and second homes, not primary residences.

More on MLive:

Kelloggsville Public Schools would fund new STEM classrooms, media center with $11.3 million bond request

Elementary school upgrades new focus of Ravenna’s $5.3M bond proposal after previous failed attempt

Cedar Springs Public Schools asking voters to renew tax millage for facility repairs, technology upgrades

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