MCC school board expected to call for May election

February 5, 2023

MCC school board expected to call for May election

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 6. The primary purpose of the meeting will be for the board to set a bond election on May 2. 

“The work leading up to this day began last May culminating in a new version of a bond that will address our district’s facility needs with an improved plan, a better timeline and a more affordable tax levy,” Superintendent Jeff Mount said in a pre-meeting memo to the board. 

If the call for an election is approved by the board, the school will be proposing voters approve a 1.6 mills tax increase which will generate $31.54 million to pay for facility and infrastructure repairs and construction. 

“Our high school is in desperate need of upgrades,” said Mount in a January interview with MCP. “The majority of A and B halls are still in original condition from when the building was opened in 1958. While I believe we have been good stewards over the years to all our buildings, we cannot keep up with the decay of this building without some major investment.”

Mount said all five of the districts school buildings – the high school, middle school, upper elementary, lower elementary and Victory Early Childhood Center — are in need of safety and security upgrades. These upgrades would include new, secured entrances that require guests to enter into the administrative office before entering into the rest of the building. Street repairs are also needed throughout the Scottville campus, Mount said. 

In addition, the bond would raise funds to build a community performing arts center which will not only serve the school but the entire Scottville area. 

In May 2022 voters defeated a 1.95 mills request, 826-593, which would have generated $33,636,000. One of the biggest factors in last year’s election seemed to be voter apathy. 

“During last May’s election, of the 700 eligible parent voters in the district, only 124 came out to vote. This is just way too small of a number. We really need parents to visit our facilities and understand the needs to upgrade. We also need voters to understand that whether they approve of this bond or not, it is vital that they show up to vote.” 

Mount said district officials have since been out in the community talking to residents about what they would like to see and not see in the upcoming bond proposal. He said one of the items that has been removed from the new proposal, which was on the previous proposal, is artificial turf for the football field. Additionally, the performing arts center project has been scaled back. 

“In order to provide a performance venue that would serve the needs of the district and the community, we didn’t want to reduce the seating capacity of the facility, which would be about 600,” Mount said. “Instead, we scaled back on some other areas and would incorporate some of our existing space. For example, set-building facilities would likely be the old A.O. Carlson Gym stage area. The new facility wouldn’t have dressing rooms, instead those would also be the existing dressing rooms that used to be the girls’ locker room in the Carlson Gym.” The new facility cost would be over $1 million reduction compared to the previous proposal. 

Mount said, if the bond were to pass, the performing arts center would be the last phase of a three phase bond purchase. The first purchase, of $10.75 million, would take place this year and would raise the funds to repair facilities and improve safety and security. It would also include building a new restroom facility between the baseball field and the home side of the football field, along with addressing Spartan Community Field drainage issues. The second phase would generate $4.67 million and would be a continuation of building repairs. The third phase, which wouldn’t happen until 2027, would raise $16.12 million and would mostly pay for the performing arts center.

“Our high school is 65-years-old,” Mount said. “Our lower elementary is 72-years-old. It’s been a generation since our last building was built. The people who first attended school at the middle school in 1976 are now grandparents. But, during that time, we have taken care of our buildings and our district works within its means, keeping a balanced budget. We are now asking the voters to invest in the current generation and future generations so their grandchildren can also have quality facilities.”  

The board of education meets at 8 a.m. in the conference room located in the high school. Anyone from the public wishing to attend should enter through the main high school entrance. 

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