$6.5 Million For Schools With No New Tax Bill?

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

When Webberville High School students move from the science classroom into the lab, they use equipment older than many of their parents.

"Most of our facilities have been built from the 1950s and back," Superintendent William Skilling told News 10.

It's just one of the reasons Skilling wants voters to approve a new $6.5 million school bond. "Bring them up to date with the new sciences they need to know," he said.

The money would also go for security, parking, lower-maintenance floors, even much-needed bathrooms for the athletic fields.

"We've had to bring in Port-a-Potties," parent and Community Bond Chair Scott Gardziella said.

It's the second multi-million bond to go before Webberville voters in less than three years. And Webberville's not alone.

In Okemos, the board is seeking state approval for a $6.8 million bond.

Grand Ledge is in the process of considering a bond as well.

And it's not a bond, but DeWitt school administrators are considering a roughly $3.25 million "sinking fund" for building maintenance.

All the plans would require additional property tax money.

What's different about the proposal in Webberville is that administrators say they can raise the extra cash without raising taxes on homeowners.

They can do it because local taxpayers already pay a substantial school debt millage.

The district's growing faster than expected, so the bond will expire sooner than expected.

By extending it out again, tax rates don't have to be raised.

"Had we been reaching for money and asking for a rate increase or millage increase, I don't think I would have participated," Gardziella said.

However, Gardziella is participating. The parent of three in the district says the changes are necessary. "We update our kitchen, people update their bathrooms, their equipment at home," he said. "Schools need that regularly as well to be effective."

So Gardziella expects Webberville to vote in support of a bond proposal, again.

If the board puts the bond on the ballot as expected, voters would go to the polls on February 27th.


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