Grand Rapids School Referendum up for Vote

$80-Million Dollar Construction of 2 New Elementary Schools

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Grand Rapids voters will soon decide whether to approve an $80-million dollar school referendum that’s coming up on the November ballot.

The school board said the schools population is growing and in the past decade enrollment has increased by 26-percent.

The Superintendent said there isn’t enough room in the elementary classrooms and that students are being taught under stairwells and in the hallways.

Currently, the district has four elementary school housing K-4th grade.

Due to a lack of space, 5th graders had to move into the middle school.

The $80-million dollar referendum is asking for voters to approve the construction of two new elementary schools, to replace the four current buildings.
Each of the schools would then house K-5th graders with space for up to 1,800 kids.

The plan would affect tax payers for nearly two decades.

“That would than mean on a home of a medium prices home of $150-thousand, $8 a month for 22 years,” said Grand Rapids School District’s Superintendent Bruce Thomas.

Thomas said the only other option the district considered months ago was renovating the elementary schools, which would still cost $50-million dollars and leave tax payers paying $8-prt month for 15-years.

If the referendum does not pass on November 3rd, the superintendent said he does not plan on pushing it again next April.

At that time the district would possibly reconsider renovations. 

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