Three Mid-Michigan school districts rejoice after bond proposals pass, one narrowly fails

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (11/08/2017) - Three school districts in Mid-Michigan are celebrating Wednesday after voters passed the largest bond proposals on the ballot a day earlier.

Major improvement projects are coming to Flushing, Lake Fenton and Owosso schools after voters approved spending a combined $75 million.

Owosso Public Schools passed the largest bond proposal totaling more than $45 million with 58 percent of the vote. The proposal will raise property taxes by 4.73 mills.

Owosso schools failed to pass several bond proposals over the years, but school leaders were happy the community is on board this time.

"We have aging facilities throughout the district," said Superintendent Andrea Tuttle. "We need an opportunity to do some major infrastructure improvements and upgrades."

The biggest part of the district's transformation involves renovating and adding onto Owosso High School to provide new space for middle school students, along with a new performing arts center.

Middle school students would move from a building constructed in 1928 into newly renovated and constructed space at the high school. The projects also will improve capacity for career and technical education for students is also a major focus.

In Flushing, a $17.8 million bond proposal passed with more than 55 percent of the vote.

The project involves adding space to improve science, technology, engineering and math -- or STEM -- programs by building a robotics and pre-engineering lab. A new visual arts classroom also would be added.

"If this bond passes and this STEM lab is built, then our kids will not have to worry about transportation to and from Kettering University," said Gina Hodgins, the Flushing High school robotics coach.

The district also will be building a new gymnasium, improving air handling equipment in the schools, adding space for an online alternative high school and making improvements to Raider Stadium.

Voters turned down a similar request in May 2016. With enrollment increasing, the district hopes the bond will add to its success going forward.

In Lake Fenton, 59 percent of voters approved extending an existing bond for three years at the same tax rate to raise $11 million for various building improvements.

"There's just a lot of things that need attention that we just can't do out of our operating budget," said Superintendent Julie Williams.

The improvements will include increased security, air conditioning, new roofing, locker rooms and upgrades to air handling equipment.

Meanwhile, leaders for Meridian Public Schools in Midland County are going back to the drawing board after a 25-year bond proposal failed by just four votes.

The district was hoping to raise taxes by 1.18 mills to generate $20 million for various improvements to its facilities, technology and transportation.

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