St. Johns School Bond Proposal

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Whether he's talking about the wrestling room, the classrooms, or the one and only gym at the high school, it's clear St. Johns Superintendent Ken Ladouceur believes renovations are long overdue.

"I'm very seriously concerned with our safety of out bleachers," Ladouceur said. "There are too many access points into the building. Our facilities were built in the 1960s, not for the current situation."

So he's pushing for voters to approve a $64 million bond next month, one that would renovate the 40-year-old high school, plus have some left over money for other district improvements.

"This maintains the mil we've been paying for for a number of years," he said. "This would not be a not a tax increase."

The total for this year's bond is $64 million, $56 million of that would stay at the high school for renovations. So, for a person with a $100,000 house, it would equal about $144 dollars per year.

"Philosophically we are not against the need for improvements in the schools, but we are against the way its being funded," Tim Karasek said.

Karasek is a district parent and a member of the group "Alternatives to Education Funding," which believes the district should use a sinking fund to pay for improvements, not a bond.

"We're borrowing money and paying interest in a bond version," he said. "The sinking fund is taxing ourselves a millage and putting that money into a piggy bank."

That method would take longer though because there's a cap on how much you can tax yearly, but there are no interest payments either.

Karasek said this method has worked for a district in the Flint area.

"It's paid for period," he said.

Ladouceur said it's more complicated than that. Sinking funds have limitations to how you can spend the money.

"It couldn't be broken up into enough smaller pieces to get the job done effectively," Ladouceur said.

He's hoping the winds have changed from last year, and residents vote "yes" to the bond proposal.

Ladouceur said now is the perfect time for a school bond because the US government is lending $15 million to schools at very low interest rates through the stimulus package. The district would save about $40 million in interest costs over the life of the bond.

***You can go to www.nodebtnobondnoway.com to visit the website by "Alternatives to Education Funding."

**For facts from supporters of the bond, go to the website: www.schoolsfortomorrow.org

Election day is May 4th.


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