The Berkley School District’s Board of Education has approved an $88 million bond proposal for the Aug. 8 election, which would pay for projects such as a multipurpose addition to Pattengill Elementary School.

The Berkley School District’s Board of Education has approved an $88 million bond proposal for the Aug. 8 election, which would pay for projects such as a multipurpose addition to Pattengill Elementary School.

Rendering provided by Berkley School District

Berkley Schools puts $88 million bond proposal on August ballot

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 9, 2023


BERKLEY — The Berkley Schools Board of Education has approved an $88 million bond proposal to appear on the ballot for the Aug. 8 election.

The board approved the ballot measure at its April 10 meeting. The bond aims to “invest in District-wide classroom furniture, multi-purpose additions at all elementary schools, performing arts upgrades and additions, athletics upgrades and additions, district-wide technology upgrades, and more,” the district stated in a news release.

Berkley Schools last put up a bond proposal for a vote in 2015 for $59 million, which was approved by voters. The 2015 proposal came from an independent study conducted in 2014 that identified $120 million worth of facility needs in the district, said Superintendent Scott Francis. Now that the work from that bond is done, the district is looking to complete the rest of the work that the study identified.

Francis said that meetings with stakeholders, staff in the district, parents and students also confirmed what the needs in the schools were and affirmed that the district needed to go for a vote now.

“We always had this idea that we would have to go back to the community to complete the needs that were identified in that study,” Francis said. “We just felt like we couldn’t wait much longer based on these assessments that were also confirmed throughout our years, even after the study, with building principals and our maintenance team.”

Because these projects tend to take a number of years to come to fruition, school board President Roger Blake said that waiting to propose a bond was not the right answer.

Blake, a Berkley resident since 2004 who had kids graduate from the district during the last several years, said he’s seen how investments in the district attract and retain young families, which helps keep the schools and community vibrant.

“That’s the big picture,” he said. “The STEM and performing arts investments are lacking. The last major investment in the science wing at the high school was almost 30 years ago. Robotics needs a modern space, and the investment in athletic spaces are great for the schools and also for the community’s youth sports programs. We have excellent teachers and award-winning students, but our facilities don’t compare. So in order to be an attractive option for families, I don’t think the community can afford to put off this investment any longer.”

According to the district, the bond will consist of work including the renovation of the high school’s science wing labs; adding new multipurpose and cafeteria additions at Angell, Burton, Pattengill and Rogers elementary schools; building a new 75-yard indoor fieldhouse for training and practice across from the high school on Catalpa; remodeling gymnasiums for all elementary and middle schools; and more.

“The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2024 is 3.05 mills ($3.05 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation), for a 2.25 mills net increase over the prior year’s levy,” according to the ballot language.

More information on the bond proposal can be found at

The district will be holding an informational meeting on the bond at 7 p.m. Monday, May 15, in the Rogers Elementary School gymnasium, 2265 Hamilton Ave.

“The district has worked hard to put a right proposal together that balances student and community needs, and something that’s consistent in the feedback that we’ve received,” Blake said.

If the bond is not approved on Aug. 8, Francis said, the district will listen to its stakeholders and get feedback on what to do next and come back with another plan to consider.

“So it’d be listening to stakeholders on why this quite didn’t meet their needs,” he said. “We have three municipalities or cities that we work with, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Berkley, and we’ll continue to work with them to understand their needs and any initiatives that they may have as well.”