MAPS Bond Issue, Part 3

Election Day is next Tuesday, and Marquette-area voters will decide whether or not the school district should be allowed to borrow $29 million.

In the final part of a 3–part series on the bond issue, ABC 10 News Now senior reporter Mike Hoey examines what the district will look like should the bond issue pass.

Even if the 1.5–mill bond issue passes, the Marquette Area Public Schools would still assess fewer than 3 mills, a lower millage than most, if not all, other U.P. districts.

However, with real estate values much higher in Marquette than elsewhere in the region, that would place Marquette’s school millage revenue at $2.5 million a year, much higher than most.

MAPS is also the U.P.’s largest school district, so it needs more millage funding than others.

Bothwell Middle School’s intended replacement, a new middle school wing, wouldn’t be the only change at the high school.

Administrators would move out.

MAPS superintendent Debbie Veiht says the offices would move because the district needs the space the offices are currently in for special education.

Bond opponent Bob Wilson believes the move of the offices is unnecessary.

The construction of new classrooms, most of which would be for state–mandated full–day kindergarten, also concerns him.

He says it would be worthwhile for the district to re-use the vacant spaces that it already has as opposed to building more classrooms.

However, at least one bond supporter says K–through–5 students need more space.

Lisa Coombs-Gerou says if the bond is passed, the elementary schools will be at 92% capacity, and the combined middle-and-high-school building will be at 77% capacity as opposed to a state recommendation of 75%.

Wilson says many elements of the bond proposal show signs of a rush to judgment.

He says he didn’t seen anything in the proposal from technology experts about the proposed technology improvements, or from teachers and staff about the grade re-alignment proposal.

Veiht says an engineering firm has told them it would cost about twice as much money to improve Bothwell as it would to knock it down and add a middle school wing to the high school.

She says she’s eager to see what the voters say about how the district should proceed.