Grand Ledge Bond Pushes Safety, Technology

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A $60 million bond would help revamp Grand Ledge Public Schools, shoring up safety procedures, technology and building efficiency among other things.

The bond proposal, which will be on the May 6 ballot, calls for a 1.95 mill increase on property taxes to be paid back over 25 years.

"This really is going to make our district continue to be a fantastic opportunity for all students," said superintendent Brian Metcalf. "The response that we're getting is very positive for the items placed in the bond."

The bond addresses six major areas, Metcalf said:

  • Safety and Security

  • Technology

  • Busing

  • Traffic Safety

  • Building Efficiency

  • High School Renovations
  • The district would renovate several front offices to make them the first thing one sees when entering a building, as opposed to a hallway or a cafeteria.

    Door shields would strengthen glass in classrooms, each of which would be equipped with a "boot" -- a device that can be placed into holes near a classroom door to prevent entry in a lockdown situation.

    "It's not very long ago that we all read and watched the news about the tragedy at Sandy Hook," said Metcalf. "I think anytime one of those events happens we look at our safety measures and say 'ok, how can we improve? How do we make sure that our kids and our staff are the safest that we can make them?'"

    More than 20 percent of the bond will go to safety and security, which is the way parent Marcie Tokar says it should be.

    "There's a lot of security issues that just make so much sense," she said. "Children are priceless."

    That statement came as she watched her eldest daughter play on softball field that will soon be redone. Athletics should get less than tend percent of the bond, Metcalf said, which will be enough for three new multipurpose fields, bleacher improvements and additional parking.

    Fine arts stand to benefit too, with plans for a renovation to the high school that features additional art labs and media classrooms.

    "Some of our kids are absolutely dedicated to playing football or basketball or being in a drama or the band and if we're not supporting all parts of their education, all components of their education, then we're missing a key opportunity to keep kids engaged," said Metcalf.

    Other highlights include new buses, more efficient buildings and a revised traffic pattern, much to the pleasure of parent Renee Martin.

    "Jenee St. is really congested and it's a residential area and there's a lot of traffic and it's really difficult to get in and out when school is in session," she said. "It sounds like there's a lot of worthy things that Grand Ledge wants to accomplish and sound like it's very worthwhile voting for, in my opinion."

    Not everyone is as quick to jump on board with the bond proposal.

    Grand Ledge resident Patricia Jones, for one, doesn't have children in the district.

    "We have to be very cautious about where our money's going," she said. "They're always asking for money increases then on the other hand you hear that schools are broke. They just don't have enough money. So where is this money going?"

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