Big school bond proposal on May ballot in Jackson

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Voters are heading the polls next Tuesday to decide a variety of school funding and local tax proposals.

 

Among them is a proposal from Jackson Public Schools, which is asking voters to consider an $86 million bond.  

 

6 News spoke with the district’s superintendent about their final push for support.

    

Five days before the May election, volunteers are hitting the streets of Jackson, knocking on doors and talking to neighbors to secure a “yes” vote for Jackson Public Schools.

 

“I think we’ve got tremendous support throughout the community,” said JPS Superintendent Jeff Beal.

 

On Tuesday, JPS is asking voters to consider an $86.7 million bond proposal.

 

As the district deals with a decline in student enrollment and aging facilities, Beal says it’s time to update the school system.

 

“A lot of this is what does the future of Jackson Public Schools look like,” Beal said.

 

The superintendent says every school will see improvements, including upgraded security.

 

But the biggest changes are happening to elementary schools.

 

The proposal calls for closing Bennett, and moving students to Northeast.

 

Also, demolish neighboring schools Frost and Cascades, combining them at a new elementary on the same site. 

 

The district intends to reopen Lincoln, which has not been used as an elementary school since 1992, to serve students in a growing area on Jackson’s south side.  

 

“We’re going to service the neighborhood where the kids are going to be in the future,” Beal said.  

 

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, the superintendent hopes they see this as an investment in the school district, but also the Jackson community.

 

 “When you see communities invest in schools, in the infrastructure that is their city, you see populations stabilize, you see investments in industry or business,” Beal said.

 

The money will be collected over 30 years, costing a taxpayer with a home worth $100,000 an extra $148 a year in taxes.

 

With the city of Jackson on the upswing, and district enrollment stabilizing, Beal says it’s important to look toward the future.

 

“We have the opportunity to head down this new path. That to me is very exciting,” Beal said.

If you live in Jackson County, chances are you have a school funding issue on your ballot.

 

Along with Jackson there are proposals for East Jackson, Columbia, Western, and Northwest.

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