Voters to consider 2 Pentwater school proposals.

October 3, 2022

Voters to consider 2 Pentwater school proposals.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

PENTWATER — After voters defeated a $24 million bond proposal last November by an 816-403 margin, the district is asking voters to consider two new proposals Nov. 8. 

Next month’s ballot will include Proposal 1 to renovate the existing K-12 school building and reconstruct the running track for $10,725,000 and Proposal 2 to construct a new gym and multipurpose facility for $6,350,000. Voters can vote for both proposals or they can vote favorably for just one of them.

The 2021 bond would have funded a new auditorium, but that component was eliminated for this go-around. “We heard them loud and clear,” said Superintendent/Principal Scott Karaptian of voters in the last election. Many ballot casters stated that they would not support an auditorium.

Pentwater Public School has not had a bond pass in nearly 20 years. “It has been nearly 20 years since the community has made an investment in our school facilities,” said Superintendent Karaptian, “and our current millage rate has dropped to .88 mills — the lowest rate in the area. Many of our building systems and components are near or past their useful life and beginning to fail. If we do not pass a new millage, the cost of repairs must be taken from our operating funds, siphoning dollars that are needed for classroom instruction.”

If either or both of the proposals pass, Pentwater would remain among the lowest millage rates in the area, said the school leader. 

Proposal 1, which is a 1.59 mill increase the first year, includes funds for safety and security upgrades; a new secure entry; fire alarm panel; roof repairs; window and boiler replacements; upgrades to classroom flooring; new cabinets and furniture; and technology upgrades. The original dirt running track would finally be paved.

Proposal 2, which is a 1.16 mill increase the first year, would fund a new gymnasium building that would be separate from the current school building but located adjacent to it. 

“The existing 1950s gymnasium was never designed for high school athletics, and the proximity of the court lines to the walls and spectators is a safety concern,” said Karaptian. “A new gym would be large enough to host high school games and tournaments and would provide additional opportunities for school and community walking, fitness, assembly and meeting spaces, performances and graduation.” Additional parking would be included with the new gym.

When the school was originally built in 1952, it was an elementary school, and the gym was added in 1959. “It was designed to be an elementary gymnasium, because the high school was not here yet.” The high school addition occurred in 1965. 

“They’re doing a layup and running into the wall,” said Karaptian of the cramped space during high school basketball games.

 

“We’ve never had a competition grade track,” said the school leader. “We have a strong track program, but we do not have a place for our kids to practice. We’ve never been able to host a track meet, and our kids practice in gravel and dirt and parking lots rather than a rubberized track like the kids they’re competing against, so they have an unfair advantage.” The soccer field would also be improved with a new level surface. 

“The new gymnasium would be accessible to the community during the school day. People could come in during the day to walk on the walking track.” They could also play basketball and pickle ball and use the fitness center. 

The existing gym would be used for physical education classes. 

If both proposals pass, there would be a cost savings in bond issuance costs of $60,000, so the total amount would be $17,015,000.

The annual cost for property owners is projected to be $125 annually on a property with a $100,000 market value or a $50,000 taxable value if both proposals pass. Proposal 1 would cost the average taxpayer $6.42 per month; Proposal 2, $4.63 per month; and both proposals, $10.42 a month.

Public tours of the current school are set for Wednesday, Oct. 5 and Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. 

For more information about the bond proposals, visit https://www.pentwaterschools.net/page/bond.

“We’ve been fiscally responsible and good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. We’re not going out every five years and asking for more money. We just ask when we need it, and we need it now.”

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