MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – On Tuesday, August 2, voters living in the Menominee Area Public Schools district will decide on a two-question referendum. If approved, it would result in a $67,650,000 bond issue. The first question would total $41,545,000.
“That is just the building of that, essentially a Pre-K – 3rd grade wing onto our existing high school,” said Derek Butler, Board President, Menominee Area Public Schools.
The second question would total $26,105,000.
“Currently, our district has three buildings,” said Butler. “It has Central Elementary School, Blesch Intermediate School and then the Junior/Senior High School. What we’re proposing to the community is to move to one campus. So Blesch School would be closed. We would then, what I was just referring to question one, that 4K – 3rd grade wing onto the high school, but all of our athletic venues and fine arts would be renovated. Within question two, that would encompass bringing the football field over to the main campus, renovating our tennis courts and expanding them to eight courts so we can actually host meets on site. Building a performing arts center. Within the walls of that junior/senior high school and that would be a multipurpose space that would encompass music, dance, orchestra and it could be reconfiguration in a number of ways. In addition, because we would be eliminating Central School, that elementary school, a two-bay gym would also be added to the main campus. Within that gym there’s going to be an opportunity for the community potentially for pickle ball, a walking track, so there would be community use from that facility. So not only would that be used by the students, but we’re really trying to make this a win-win for the community. Lastly, our CTE wing or some people refer to it as vocational, we have a very nice footprint in regards to the space and turn that into 21st century learning and expand those vocational offerings right here at Menominee Area Public Schools.”
Butler says that the school is bringing this issue to voters because enrollment in the district has declined by 35%.
“That’s an annual loss in revenue about $5 million,” said Butler. “With bringing everyone on one campus and optimizing the square footage of the current junior/senior high school, there’s going to be operational savings a year, upwards to a half million dollars a year. Along with that, there’s educational benefits but really, what has happened to our district is over the course of 15 years we’ve seen this slow decline in enrollment and we have to re-size to who we are going to be.”
Per average $100,000 household, the tax increase would be about $22 a month. For more information on the referendum, click here.