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Only school proposals on November ballot

J-Ad News Services

Residents of nine Barry County townships will see items on the Nov. 5 ballot, all of which are school proposals. However, the election will pertain to small portions of residents in most of those townships.

Thornapple Kellogg school district residents will vote on a bond proposal to raise up to $42.8 million for building and site purposes. The bond issue will not raise the district's debt service millage.

If approved, the district will be allowed to remodel and re-equip existing facilities and install new technology, improve athletic facilities, buy new school buses and improve school playgrounds.

Topping the list for construction is a new Learning Center. Right now, the 81-year-old Learning Center, the district’s oldest facility, has waiting lists. The building houses 3- and 4-year-old preschool programs, Great Start Readiness Program, early childhood special education, and child care. School officials said the new facility will feature learning spaces designed specifically for preschool and special education programs.

Other proposed projects include adding four classrooms and a conference room to McFall Elementary, adding three classrooms and a conference room to Lee Elementary, and a cafeteria expansion plus three new classrooms at Page Elementary. A proposed cafeteria expansion is planned for the high school.

Residents of Barry, Johnstown and Prairieville townships may vote on the Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency millage to establish an area career and technical education program. The proposal is for one mill, from 2020 until 2039. The estimated revenue the millage would raise in 2020 is $8.26 million.

Those living in portions of Orangeville and Prairieville townships will vote on Plainwell Community Schools’ bond to borrow up to $48.6 million for constructing and remodeling school buildings, equipping instructional technology and improving playgrounds.

Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer said she expects a lower turnout since no state or national races are on the ballot. She pointed out many people who don't have children choose not to vote on school proposals, even though it affects their taxes if they own property.

One change this year is the law for voter registrations, which was changed in a proposal which passed last year. People can register to vote even on the day of the election, though they must be able to prove their address is within the precinct. Palmer said the township clerks have been seeing a steady amount of late voter registration, though she expects much more for next year's presidential election.

Taylor Owens and Karen Turko-Ebright contributed to this article.









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