Parents, Teachers Rally for $7.9 Million Okemos Bond

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

Hundreds of parents and teachers spanned Okemos Road near Central Elementary Monday night to voice their support for the district's $7.9 million bond up for a vote Tuesday.

Rallyers were hoping to hear passing cars honk as they picked up signs in support of the school bond for new technology. Kathy Sheufelt helped organize the rally.

"Technology for not only my own children but the children I teach," Sheufelt said.

Sheufelt is an Okemos parent and a middle school teacher in the district. She's also in support of the transportation bond.

"Buying school buses ... leaves more money in the general fund for everything else the district buys with taxpayer money," Sheufelt said.

The $7.9 million bond would cover 12 new buses and more digital technology in the classroom.

"Smart boards, sound systems, all the technology, to engage the reluctant learner," Sheufelt said.

The bond also covers computers, servers and whatever the district deems necessary over the next five years. Some criticize what they see as a lack of specifics in the proposal. Sheufelt says the plan is plenty specific.

"Of course, they can't project out five years what technology will be available, but it was very specific on what was going to be purchased," she said.

School Board member Bob McDonough says the upgrades are more than just bells and whistles.

"The kids we're educating today learn differently. They multitask. They need the technological advantage of video streaming, digital components," he said.

And, McDonough says, the school district is already behind compared to neighboring schools with newer buildings.

"When we textbooks, they come with content we can't deliver," McDonough said.

That's what rallyers hope to change, and at this point, they say they're confident voters will side with them.

"This is an important bond and it's not frivolous in the least," Sheufelt said.

Polls in Okemos, and polls statewide, open at 7 a.m. Tuesday.


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