OTTAWA COUNTY, MI — Voters on Tuesday approved a 25-year, $61 million bond for Jenison Public Schools as the district faces a significant reduction in state funding, according to unofficial results from Ottawa County.



a man holding a sign: An election official walks past an empty voting booth at the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Kalamazoo Regional Program and Training Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020


© Joel Bissell/Joel Bissell | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
An election official walks past an empty voting booth at the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Kalamazoo Regional Program and Training Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020

With just over 65{3e0544090c75b66d16c3eca4d142e2092ea98ee5f79f18046a1f13abafab9023} of the total ballots cast in the favor of the bond, 5,355 voters said “yes” to the proposal while 2,871 voted against it.

District leaders say the bond, appearing on the Aug. 4 election ballot, is needed more than ever before to address infrastructure issues.

“Our buildings were built in the 1960s and we have done the very best we can to maintain and manage all of these systems but it’s time they get replaced,” Superintendent Tom TenBrink told MLive.

Related: Live election results for Grand Rapids-area races Aug. 4, 2020

TenBrink said no tax increase is expected for local property owners. The bond will extend the current debt levy rate of 8.5 mills to 2025.

District-wide improvements would impact students in every grade level, he said. For example, the district plans to dedicate $29 million to the heating, cooling and ventilation systems in all school buildings.

The district had 5,182 students enrolled for the 2019-20 school year, according to the state. TenBrink said growth is also driving the bond. He said they have around 800 more students now than a decade ago.

The bond calls for expanding Bursley Elementary to include five more classrooms. The district would also add a multipurpose room at the Junior High and a multipurpose building at the Senior High School to primarily accommodate band and orchestra.

TenBrink said the district initially planned to seek voter support in the May election but opted to postpone their request due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have chosen to move forward now because the needs are too great to delay addressing, he said.

School leaders say an extensive two-year infrastructure study was done to guide the bond proposal regarding the ventilation system. TenBrink said that is especially relevant in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are a few more improvements the bond would fund:

Technology needs will be addressed for students to safely learn from home.

Safety and security updates will be made, including monitoring systems and a safe entryway for Sandy Hill Elementary School.

Bathroom remodels.

Replacing elementary playgrounds with safer equipment.

More information about the tax proposal is available at jpsonline.org.

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