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Goodrich School District voters pass bond extension

Voter turnout 23 percent

David and Kandy Heffernan vote in Goodrich on Tuesday. (click for larger version)
February 23, 2011 - Goodrich voters narrowly approved a $15.4 million bond extension on Tuesday with 930 yes votes (52 percent) to 847 no (48 percent). About 23 percent of registered voters turned out. A total of 1,777 votes were cast. There are 7,547 registered voters in the school district, including 6,607 voters in Genesee County and 940 voters in Lapeer County.

"It's a great turnout at the polls," said Goodrich Schools Superintendent John Fazer. "This success is attributed to all the efforts of our citizen committees—the information made it to all our voters. We are very happy with the passage of the bond. The vote was close, but in these tough times there has to be concern. The proposal is strong for kids. It allows us some relief on the operating millage."

The bond will be paid for by extending the current repayment schedule on an existing bond an additional six years, from 24 years (through 2034) to 30 years (with final payoff in 2041). New bond payments will begin in 2011. The millage rate will continue at the current rate of 7.75 mills (a $200,000 home with an SEV of $100,000 is $775 per year). 1,333 voted in the 2000 for the middle school.

There will be no tax increase for area residents.

School officials informed the district that due to the five year average on property values, the amount that could be levied for the bond had dropped from $32 million to $15.4 million, thus prompting the Feb. 22 bond extension vote. Waiting until May 2011 lowered the ability to bond to only $1.6 million.

School officials say the bond money will be used for: educational facilities, 41 percent; technology, 30 percent; athletics, 13 percent; energy upgrades, 11 percent; and safety/ADA, 5 percent. Details of the bond can be found on www.goodrich.k12.mi.us, the Goodrich School website.

Fazer anticipates the bonds to be sold in March with the preliminary scope of the work and design to be completed later this year. The bidding process will take place in June and July.

"Some of the renovations could begin on the mechanical this summer. Other aspects including the high school and the football field will be ready in the fall of 2012."

Atlas Township Clerk Tere Onica called the voter turnout "phenomenal."

"I've never heard of 23 percent (voter turnout for a school election)," she said. "One of our precincts had a 32 percent voter turnout for the bond issue. It really caught us by surprise. In a school election, a 3 to 5 percent turnout is not uncommon, since stand alone elections have a traditional bad voter turnout. Goodrich Schools, as far back as I know, have never turned down a bond with the exception of the swimming pool (bond) in the late 1990s. This community is a very strong supporter of the schools."

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