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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2008

Tecumseh schools seeks 2 bond issues

BY ANGIE SCHMITT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TECUMSEH - The Tecumseh Public Schools system is asking voters May 6 to approve two bond issues that would generate $36.7 million for facilities improvements in the district.

The school system plans to use the money to replace roofing in a number of buildings, make electrical repairs to its middle and elementary schools, and update technology equipment district-wide.

The bond money would also provide for repairs to its pool building, improvements to playground equipment, and construction of new stadiums at the middle and high schools, Superintendent Michael McAran said.

Mr. McAran said the improvements will help the district stay competitive.

"It will make things a lot nicer and maybe bring people into the district," he said. "If we have things that people want, people will move here."

Combined, the two issues will collect 7.2 mills property tax. Because of an existing bond issue, immediate tax rates will neither rise or fall, whether or not the issues are approved, District Treasurer Debbie Johnson-Berges said.

The district is asking voters to merely extend the period the district spends repaying the debt from a 2001 bond issue, which is also 7.2 mills, she said. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The existing debt is set to expire in 2015, Mrs. Johnson-Berges said. Approval of the two new issues would extend that date to 2030.

"It's like taking out a 20-year mortgage verses a 30-year mortgage," she said.

If the bond issues are not approved, the district would be forced to use money from its operating budget to finance more urgent projects such as roof repairs, Mr. McAran said.

Bond Proposal I would generate $12.28 million. It would be used to remodel all school buildings, except for the high school, as well as to build an addition to Tecumseh Acres Elementary School and purchase new technological equipment.

Bond Proposal II would generate $24.45 million for additions to the high school and remodeling at that building and the middle school. It would also provide funds to improve athletic fields, facilities, and playgrounds.

During the May 6 election, Tecumseh voters will also decide three school board positions.

Candidate Karen Januszek, 59, is a retired business teacher with the district. She is running for a four-year term.

Kevin Packard, who is running for a four-year term, could not be reached for comment.

Write-in candidate Jason Sines, 36, is running for the three-year term to be vacated by president Mark Wolfe. Mr. Sines is a school psychologist with the Lenawee Intermediate School District. He has been active on several Tecumseh school board committees, including the athletic code committee, Mr. Wolfe said.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:

aschmitt@theblade.com

or 419-724-6104.



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