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St. Clair Shores schools feel support of community as ballot measures pass

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 8, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Students in two St. Clair Shores school districts will get new technology, new classrooms and rehabilitated facilities after voters in both districts approved measures Nov. 5 that will pay for items outside of the general fund.

Voters in Lakeview Public Schools approved a $54 million bond issue with 63.6% approval, or 2,511 for and 1,437 against.

“I’m definitely going to vote to continue that millage because it’s a great school district,” said Chris Quinn as he headed in to cast his ballot Nov. 5 in Lakeview Public Schools.

Lori Cherry, who works for Lakeview Public Schools and also lives in the district, agreed.

“With the expanding enrollment, we need more,” she said. “The infrastructure needs to be updated.”

She and other voters said they were happy to be able to support the measure since it wouldn’t increase the amount they would be paying on their tax bills.

They weren’t the only ones in support of the Lakeview Public Schools bond measure.

“Anything that’s good for kids, to help kids out, I’m willing to do that,” said Steve Wochaski.

Superintendent Karl Paulson said that district officials were “thrilled” with the results of the election and made sure that the school community was aware of their appreciation.

Now, he said, design work will begin on some of the bigger projects and plans will proceed for projects that were planned no matter what, but can now be paid for with bond money.

“We have substantial design work and the development of bid work now underway for certain projects,” he said.

The bond sale will likely occur in January, and Paulson said he expects that the $15 million proceeds from the first series of bonds will begin to pay for technology infrastructure and some security items, like new doors and security cameras.

“Those sort of things will be things we can do right away,” he said.

Voters in South Lake Schools approved a 10-year building and site sinking fund with 58.9% of the vote, or 2,094 for and 1,464 against.

“We’re very pleased that the community in South Lake continues to support our schools, support our students — it just feels good,” said Superintendent Ted Von Hiltmayer. “It just validates the fact that our community still believes in South Lake Schools.”

Voting in the South Lake Schools district, Tony Phillips said that he is “generally in support of anything that improves the schools.”

“If done correctly, we’ll improve our property values,” he said.

Ned Herman said now was a good time to be bringing the sinking fund before voters.

“They’re doing it at the right time so your net (tax) increase will be zero,” he said, adding that he also appreciates the fact that the district is trying to improve its existing structures instead of just building new.

Von Hiltmayer said that the district plans to begin improvements such as painting some school interiors and replacing some HVAC units this summer. Other plans will be developed to be ready for the beginning of the next fiscal year in July, when the district can begin to access the additional funds.

“We will put a plan in place,” he said. “These are things that we know we need to do.”