$100-million Saginaw Public Schools bond proposal aims to overhaul district, stem declining enrollment

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 10:41 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) (10/30/2020)-Aside from the big races, statewide, many communities will be asking voters to weigh in on various proposals. In Saginaw, a high dollar school bond proposal is attracting a lot of attention.

At least in this neighborhood, lawn signs outnumbered the standard spooky scenes a day before Halloween. Driving through Saginaw, this reporter found dozens drawing attention to a hot button ballot initiative for Saginaw Public Schools.

The near $100-million bond proposal would clear the way for two new buildings and repairs to existing schools intended to counter a decade of declining enrollment, with its student body projected to shrink by nearly two thousand by the mid-2020s, according to the district’s figures.

Plans originally called for the Arthur Hill High School building to be demolished. Those plans have since been scrapped. According to ballot language, the new plan is to make Arthur Hill the new home of the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy and move high school students to the site of the current SASA building, which will eventually become a brand new high school.

An artist’s rendering reveals a glittering, modern, four story concept with space for 1200 high schoolers.

The difference would be night and day. The district points to buckling floors, gaping holes in its ceilings and water damage in its aging stable of buildings as evidence of the need to get started.

Administrators will do that with some creative shuffling and reorganization if the measure is approved November 3.

The current SASA building will be demolished to make way for the new high school, while the Arthur Hill building would become SASA’s new home following a comprehensive remodel. Saginaw High School would also see a remodel and conversion into a middle school. Handley Elementary, meanwhile, is slated for demolition with a new Handley Elementary expected to take shape near the existing Arthur Hill building.

The proposal calls for a 30 year bond paid for with a tax hike of 7 mils, which the district estimates would cost the average Saginaw homeowner around $20 extra a month.

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