"May Madness" Awaits Taxpayers

Three school districts in Southwestern Michigan will try to "bond" with voters this May.

And the smallest district has the proposed school construction plan with the biggest price tag--$29.5 (m).

Based on today's student enrollment, the Cassopolis School Board has proposed a plan to spend more than 24-thousand dollars per kid.

While the price is indeed high, some contend the cost of doing nothing—is higher.

“We are a declining enrollment district,” according to Superintendent Gregory Weatherspoon, “but we also have excellent potential of growing.”

“We're right next to Edwardsburg. Look what's happened to them the last five years, they're off the chart in growth…so we have some opportunities.”

Weatherspoon contends only one thing will allow the district to take advantage of those opportunities, “it's got to be stellar or quality program they come here for.”

Meantime, the citizens who came up with the $29.5 (M)plan are willing to take the “heat.”

They took a close look at school heating systems that were so old—parts were no longer available for purchase.

And it didn’t end there. Chris Pittman served on the citizens committee that put the plan together. “We bought the last lights from the company that sells them for our high school. So we run out, we either have to re-do the whole electrical system so we can have lights, or we have to come up with some kind of plan.”

Since the School Corporation hasn’t gone to voters with a construction related millage request since 1994, Committee members were apparently inclined to make up for lost time.

According to Becky Daniels with the “Yes Kids” Committee, “the issues aren’t going to go away. The need is not going to go away. If taxpayers don’t pay for it today, they’re going to pay for it tomorrow.”

The plan would cost the average homeowner about 200-dollars a year. That’s based on a house with a market value of some $90,000.00.

But there are several lake homes in the district that are far above average. For those homes, the tax impact will be much greater.

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