The Berkley School District voted to approve an $88 million bond. Work as part of the bond includes a multipurpose addition at Pattengill Elementary School.

The Berkley School District voted to approve an $88 million bond. Work as part of the bond includes a multipurpose addition at Pattengill Elementary School.

Rendering provided by Berkley School District

Voters in Berkley, Clawson school districts approve respective bonds

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published August 22, 2023


BERKLEY/CLAWSON — Voters in the Berkley and Clawson school districts both voted to approve bond proposals during the Aug. 8 election.

Berkley School District voters said yes to an $88 million bond and voters in Clawson Public Schools said yes to a $25.5 million bond.


Out of 7,095 voters across Berkley, Huntington Woods and a section of Oak Park, 4,900 voted yes on the bond proposal and 2,195 voted no.

Superintendent Scott Francis said the district was excited and grateful to have the community’s support.

“When I say ‘full community support,’ I mean support from the city of Berkley, Huntington Woods, north Oak Park — every precinct in all three communities voted in favor of support of this bond for our school district,” he said.

The district previously stated the bond money will be used to fund districtwide classroom furniture, multipurpose additions at all elementary schools, performing arts upgrades and additions, athletics upgrades and additions, and districtwide technology upgrades.

Francis said the district will work with building leaders and design teams to start the design process soon and determine the next steps.

“We have all the conceptual ideas that’s now going from conceptual ideas and projects that the community approved to now the specifics of the design and working with our staff to go through that process,” he said. “Then it goes into a bid process and then shovels start to go into the ground and make those improvements across the district. It’s about a 3 1/2 year timeline. Our design process begins that process, and then through the years, up through 2026.”

Specific projects that will be part of the bond include updating the performing arts spaces at the high school, improvements at Hurley Field, cafeteria additions at the elementary schools and new furniture for every transitional kindergarten through 12th grade classroom.

Francis said the beginning of the bond work will have a heavy focus on high school projects.

“The classroom furniture will be one of the first (of) our top priorities, and then also performing arts, athletics at the high school and then two elementary additions. We’re gonna start those in phases. So we have Burton Elementary and Pattengill Elementary, the multipurpose cafeterias, that’s in the first phase, too,” he said.


Clawson’s bond saw 2,112 voters cast ballots, with 1,214 choosing yes and 898 selecting no.

Superintendent Billy Shellenbarger said he was not surprised to see the community vote for the bond.

“Just in conversation in the community all summer, whether it was knocking doors and talking to people at different events, it was pretty clear that we were going to get that support again,” he said. “I’m ecstatic that we got (the support) and, you know, once again, indebted to our community for supporting kids, supporting our unique small town and small school district and allowing us to really set ourselves up for, I mean, the very long future related to being a successful public education institution. So we’re just gonna be able to thrive now because of it, which is fantastic.”

The bond’s approval follows a previous $55 million bond that the district received approval for in 2021. The money wasn’t enough to complete the scope of what Clawson wanted to do, so it decided to go for another bond.

The scope of the work the bond can now cover includes new painted ceilings, furniture and new exterior windows and doors.

“Obviously, the 2021 work continues,” Shellenbarger said. “That will go another year and a half or so. A lot of this work will happen simultaneously. We’ve already started the planning process related to that new 2023 scope of work now that the decisions on what we’re going to do have already been made, and that was part of the process we presented to the community. Those decisions have already been made, but how we do those things and with whom, that’s next.

“(It’s) based on timing, what can we do during the school year, what do we have to do after the school year, during the summer, getting bids together, finding out who can do that work and how much to stay underneath our budget,” he continued. “So all of that planning will begin now, and then I would say the $25.5 million with that 2023 bond, you know that first shovel will go in the ground … likely this school year. So it’ll happen concurrently with the work that was already happening from our 2021 bond scope.”