The Pentwater School Board is preparing to try again for one or two bites of the taxpayers’ apple. On June 20 the board voted to approve preparation of a two part bond proposal for a November vote. Briefly, part one is $10,725,000 for existing building renovation and developing a six lane running track, Part Two is $6,350,000 to construct a stand alone building for a second gym.
If the proposals pass they will place a large debt on the district taxpayers, payable over the next 28 years. This would be in addition to their ever increasing yearly operating budget of $3,800,000 in 2022 alone. Their carefully worded bond proposal avoids saying we still owe about another $2,000,000 over the next eight years for the last 2004 bond. When might they ask for the next bond?
This is being proposed while enrollment continues to drop, gas and milk are at $5 a gallon, inflation is climbing and a possible recession in on the horizon. Current student enrollment is now at 224, down 18 students from 2021 (8 percent). Sixty-one students (26 percent) of the 224 are from out of district. Their hired enrollment consultant forecasts a five-year high school enrollment of only 56 students total. Other regional schools also reflect a drop in enrollment. What is the need for a six-lane running track and a second gym?
After requests, the board has posted the State Required form 3881 bond application form on the school website. Look it up for your own review of bond. payment costs, construction estimates and enrollment projections.
It appears that many Michigan school district taxpayers are starting to pay attention to the real costs of school operation and are sending bond proposals back to school boards for some reality checks and more transparency on real needs versus wants or keeping up with the Joneses.
Ask the school board how they are spending the $900,000 of Covid Funds they have been allocated. See for yourself what the costs will be before you cast your vote in November.
529 S. Clymer, Pentwater