SJ schools series bond gets approval from voters

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — Voters gave St. Joseph Public Schools the funding it wanted through the next decade at Tuesday’s polls.

A series bond that will raise more than $8 million over 12 years for St. Joseph schools passed with 54.9 percent in favor at Tuesday’s polls. Money raised from the sale of bonds will be used to support upgrades in technology, security, transportation and building improvements across the district.

Not accounting for absentee ballots among the precincts, the city of St. Joseph had the highest approval rate at 62 percent.

The district will issue $2.45 million in 2016, $3.05 million in 2020 and $2.89 million in 2024. The total amount raised by the bond sale over the 12 years would not exceed $8.4 million.

Superintendent Ann Cardon said in a prepared statement the school’s administration is thrilled with the community’s support.

“As we were talking about the proposal with families and community members, we received a lot of positive feedback,” Cardon said in a news release. “Thanks to the passing of the bond proposal, our district can now move forward with our sustainability plan. On behalf of all of our students and staff members, thank you for your continued support of St. Joseph Public Schools.”

The ballot language for the series bond was adopted during a Board of Education meeting in February. The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bond in 2016 is 0.35 mills – or 35 cents for each $1,000 of taxable property value.

Board President Amy Porritt-Peirce said in a released statement that the bond’s approval will lead to great things for the district.

“The St. Joseph public school district is extremely grateful for such incredible support and looks forward to providing students a continued excellence in education that is second to none,” Porritt-Peirce said.

Residents in the city of St. Joseph, Lincoln, Royalton and St. Joseph townships have favored education levies in the past.

The district passed a $38 million, 25-year bond issue in May 2010, which led to the renovation of several school buildings, improved security and an updated technology infrastructure.

Brandywine gets support

Brandywine Community Schools passed its millage proposal for the district’s sinking fund.

The sinking fund, which is a property tax dedicated to building and site improvements, had 433 votes Tuesday with 53 percent in approval of the levy.

The total amount levied is 1 mill – $1 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation – for 10 years starting in 2016 and ending in 2025.

The levy would create a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings. The estimated revenue the school district will collect in 2016 is about $269,250.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on May 4, 2016)

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