Fitzgerald Public Schools bond passes

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published May 13, 2019

WARREN — Improvements in both security features and energy efficiency — along with remodeled classrooms and updated technology — are on the horizon for Fitzgerald Public Schools thanks to the successful passing of a $46.7 million bond proposal May 7.

According to the unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office, there were 589 “yes” votes (56.5%) and 453 “no” votes (43.5%) in the local election.

The passing of the bond will generate money from the taxpayers to fund projects throughout the district. Now that the bond has passed, the current tax rate will increase by 2.9 mills, costing the average Fitzgerald taxpayer an additional $6 per month.

“We are obviously pleased with the positive election results and are grateful to those who voted to keep our school district and our community strong,” FPS Superintendent Laurie Fournier said. “We are also indebted to parents, school staff and others in the community who volunteered their time to help residents understand the benefits of the bond proposal. All of us in Fitzgerald look forward to beginning work on the bond proposal projects.”

A bond issue is a state-approved funding process for a group of planned projects. When voters approve a bond proposal, the school district sells bonds in the authorized amount and uses the proceeds of the sale to pay for those projects. The Fitzgerald bond is for 25 years.

The bond issue will enhance safety and security by remodeling and equipping school buildings, playgrounds and other facilities; improve energy efficiency with roofing, lighting and mechanical system replacements; update and remodel classrooms and school facilities, including the Chatterton Middle School planetarium; upgrade the technology and technology infrastructure; and improve deteriorated masonry and parking lots. Bond funds also will be used to replace school buses as they wear out.

The proposed projects include work at the Schofield Early Childhood Center, Mound Park and Westview elementary schools, Chatterton Middle School, Fitzgerald High School, the Fitzgerald Automotive & Technical Career Institute building, the Neigebaur Building and the Transportation Building.

According to the district’s website, fitz.k12.mi.us, the bonds will be sold in three series: Series No. 1, $20,860,700 in 2019; Series No. 2, $19,658,200 in 2022; and Series No. 3, $6,381,700 in 2025. According to Fournier, the bonds won’t be sold until the revenue is needed.

According to school officials, the passing of the bond will help assure that all buildings and facilities are safe, secure, up to date and in good repair. Bond dollars will also assure that Fitzgerald’s educational programs and facilities remain competitive with other school districts; assure that the school bus fleet is up to date and safe; reflect positively on homeowner property values; and protect the community’s investment in its school district.

School officials will soon meet to begin implementation of the bond projects.  

Partners in Architecture, based in Mount Clemens, will be the district’s architect. Clark Construction Co. will provide the construction manager. The company is headquartered in Lansing, with other locations in Auburn Hills and Alpena.

In other bond issue news, Center Line Public Schools is continuing along with its projects. In November 2017, a $53.95 million bond proposal passed in Center Line. Building updates are scheduled throughout the district.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Peck Elementary School will be held at 6 p.m. May 16 at the site of the former Center Line High School track.

A district spokesperson said all members of the public are welcome to attend. All are asked to park in the faculty lot behind Center Line High School, 26300 Arsenal St.

For a complete list of the Fitzgerald bond issue items, visit fitz.k12.mi.us and click on 2019 Bond Proposal.