Fraser schools celebrates passage of $19.9M bond

52.5 percent of voters approve the school improvement issue

By: Heidi Roman | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 23, 2011

Fraser Public Schools administrators and staff breathed a sigh of relief Feb. 22 with the passage of its $19.9 million bond that will not raise the tax rate. In the special election, 1,635 voters, or 52.5 percent of those who cast ballots, gave their consent to the school improvement bond.

The bond didn’t appeal as much to absentee voters, who supported it less than walk-in voters. In most precincts, absentee votes rejecting the bond outweighed those in support. But overall, turnout was 14.3 percent of registered voters and support of the bond in Fraser, Roseville and Clinton Township was evident.

“It’s a good school system and we want to keep it that way,” said Fraser parent Joann Gordley, who cast her vote in support of the bond at the Fraser Activities Center. “A good school district helps keep property values up.”

Gordley has kids in three of the districts school buildings; at Salk Elementary and the middle and high schools. All of her students are involved in sports, so the auxiliary gym connected to the current gym at the high school that will be built with the bond appealed to her.

Besides the gym, the 30-year bond will fund increased security and safety in all buildings, the purchase of new busses, facility improvements and a significant enhancement to technology in the district, including the installation of wireless connectivity throughout the buildings and new mobile computing devices.

Every building will see improvements. Superintendent Dave Richards has said the large technology component of the bond issue is critical in ensuring Fraser stays ahead of surrounding districts and adapts to the changing learning environment.

Richards said the passage of the bond proves residents support that goal.

“We’re excited,” he said. “It really speaks to the Fraser community coming together, even during tough times, to invest in the school district. We feel pretty fortunate.”

Richards said the biggest challenge of the bond was to make sure voters were informed. Taxes will not be increased because of the bond, nor would they have decreased if it hadn’t passed. The current rate of 7 mills will be maintained, but extended from 2030 to 2041.

“I supported it because it wasn’t a tax increase,” said Fraser resident and parent Steve Jennings. “It if was a (tax increase) bond issue, I’d probably have said no.”

Fraser resident Mitchell Kozera doesn’t have any kids attending school in the district, just nieces and nephews, but voted in favor of the bond because of the importance of having well-educated students heading out into the workforce.

“Education is probably the most important thing we need to concentrate on in American society to get ourselves competitive again with other countries,” Kozera said.

For detailed results of the Feb. 22 election, visit the Macomb County Clerk’s Web site at www.macombcountymi.gov/clerksoffice.

A full list of improvements and purchases that will be made under the bond is available at www.fraser.k12.mi.us.