Bond proposals for Leslie, North Adams-Jerome Public Schools fail in primary

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FILE – In this July 7, 2020, file photo a woman wearing gloves drops off a mail-in ballot at a drop box in Hackensack, N.J. After months of hearing President Donald Trump denigrate mail-in balloting, Republicans in the critical battleground state now find themselves far behind Democrats in the perennial push to urge their voters to vote remotely. While Democrats have doubled the number of their voters who’ve asked for a mail ballot compared to 2016, Republicans have only increased by about 20% since the same time. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(WLNS)– Several Mid-Michigan school districts hoped for bond approvals in last night’s primary. While several school bonds were approved by voters, one in Hillsdale County and one in Ingham County failed.

“You’re disappointed because you know, we felt we were going to do some real positive things for the district,” Jeff Manthei, Superintendent of Leslie Public Schools said.

The district’s proposal on the August primary ballot wouldn’t have increased taxes, but instead would have extended a current millage for approximately another 20 years.

Manthei said the $13-million bond would have funded a number of things including secured entrances for buildings, a new H-VAC system in the elementary school, new windows, a new auxiliary gym, and an update to the track.

“I don’t want to prioritize anything, but to me they’re all pretty important,” Manthei said.

So what does this mean for the district moving forward?

“We’re looking at what some of the concerns were of the people that voted and so we’re laying out at least the beginning plans of what do we do next, and we haven’t got that far,” Manthei said.

While he can’t speak for the school board, he says there a chance this could be seen on a future ballot.

In Hillsdale County voters also denied a bond for North Adams-Jerome Public Schools. The $8-million bond proposed would have funded things like a new heating system and roof, upgrades to athletic facilities, a new woodshop, a home economics room, and new buses. The proposal failed by only 4 votes.

“It’s okay,” North Adams-Jerome Superintendent Wes Johnson said. “I think we learned a lot from this situation and we’re gonna try again probably again in November.”

Both Johnson and Manthei said not being able to talk to voters in person about the proposals due to COVID-19 was a big challenge and they hope to have the community’s support in the future.

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