New Haven Community Schools employees and Macomb Township residents Stephanie Acker and Kelly See participate in the special election May 7. The school district's bond proposal passed by 10 votes.

New Haven Community Schools employees and Macomb Township residents Stephanie Acker and Kelly See participate in the special election May 7. The school district's bond proposal passed by 10 votes.

Photo by Deb Jacques


School proposal passes by 10 votes in New Haven

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 8, 2019

A New Haven Community Schools bond proposal passed by 10 votes in a May 7 special election.

According to unofficial results from the Macomb County elections website, the proposal passed 50.3% to 49.7%. There were 928 “yes” votes, and 918 “no” votes.

The primary purpose of the proposal is to provide funds for remodeling and upgrading New Haven schools and school facilities.

“Our school district, the board of education and myself are thrilled with the outcome of the election,” New Haven Community Schools Superintendent Barbara VanSweden said Wednesday morning. “We’re excited the community supported it, even though it was a close vote.”

Ballot language asked if the school district should borrow $25 million and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds. The bond proposal projects fall into five categories — update instructional technology and technology infrastructure; enhance school security and student safety measures; remodel and upgrade schools and school facilities with emphasis on accommodating 21st century instruction and improving energy efficiency; replace school buses as they reach the end of their useful life; and improve school sites, playgrounds and athletic facilities.

Prior to the election, VanSweden was cautiously optimistic the proposal would pass.

Now that the proposal is approved, the current tax rate is projected to increase by 0.9 mills and cost the average taxpayer within the district an additional $32.40 per year.

Phase 1 would begin in 2019, and phase 2 in 2024.

“On behalf of the board of education and our school district, I want to send out a huge thanks to the supporters of our bond proposal and pledge that we will keep people informed of our progress along the way,” VanSweden said.

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2019, under current law, is 0.9 mills ($0.90 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

On May 7, outside of the Macomb Township Recreation Center, Lori Scharich, of Macomb Township, shared how she voted on the proposal and the reasoning behind her thinking.

“I voted ‘yes’ because I live in the school district and it’s good for the schools to have a positive vote and it will improve their position,” Scharich said. “It’s good for property values, good for the neighborhood and the school district.”

At the four Macomb Township precincts, residents were against the proposal 555 to 389.

One of the first areas that will be addressed as part of the remodeling and upgrading is purchasing new buses.