MCC voters will consider two proposals in November election

May 22, 2023

MCC voters will consider two proposals in November election

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central School District voters will get a third chance to decide on school facility needs during the Nov. 7 election. The Board of Education voted unanimously during a special meeting Monday evening, to place two proposals on the ballot. One proposal will address safety and security needs along with building repairs and updates. The other proposal will address the construction of a performing arts center (auditorium).

Earlier this month, voters turned down the school’s second attempt in a year at a bond proposal, 856-722, losing by 134 votes, which would have included major security and infrastructure upgrades to school facilities, especially the 65-year-old high school. In May 2022 voters turned down a similar proposal with a wider margin of 826-593, losing by 233 votes.

The most recent proposal was asking voters to approve a 1.6 mills increase in property taxes which would have raised $31.54 million. The 2022 request was asking for 1.95 mills increase that would have raised $33.64 million. The November ballot likely will split the dollar amount in half for each proposal with an estimated cost of the auditorium being around $15 million. 

The Board of Education needed to hold a special meeting because the district is required to turn in a draft preliminary qualification application to the Michigan Department of Treasury by Tuesday, June 6 — in eight days — in order to put the proposal on the November ballot. Superintendent Jeff Mount told the board that such an application requires a considerable amount of work and eight days is stretching limitations. 

The board, along with members of the public, discussed the various options for proceeding with a mileage proposal. 

“In my opinion, I’ve got mixed emotions on which way to go,” Board of Education President Jim Schulte said, referring to splitting the ballot into two proposals or keeping it as one proposal. “I think I do a pretty good job of listening to people. The immediate concern for our district is our infrastructure, particularly with safety and security. I am listening to people out there and many have said they would support that portion of the proposal.” 

In the 2022 election, only 124 parents who are registered to vote in the district voted. There are about 700 parents in the school district who are registered to vote. Mount said preliminary reports are showing that that number did increase slightly, to about 224. “That still means 400 parents out there just didn’t vote. That’s concerning,” Mount said. 

Other board members echoed Schulte in saying they were turn over splitting the proposals. All agreed that they were in favor of a performing arts center. 

“The needs haven’t gone away,” Mount said. “We still need to make major repairs to the high school and we still need to improve security. These are not ‘wants’ but rather they are ‘needs.”

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