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Portage Public Schools asking voters to pass $175 million bond proposal that wouldn't raise taxes

The proposal will appear on the Aug. 3 ballot.
Portage Public Schools
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jul 29, 2021

PORTAGE, Mich. — Portage Public Schools is asking voters to approve a multimillion-dollar bond proposal that wouldn't raise taxes.

It would appear on the Aug. 3 special election ballot.

If passed, Portage Public Schools would use the $175 million to build five new elementary schools and remodel another.

The money would also help fund other projects across the district.

"The best news of that all is that it results in no increase in taxes over the 2021 rate that we currently have," said Portage Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bielang.

Next Tuesday, Aug. 3, Portage Public Schools will ask voters to sign off on the $175 million bond proposal.

"The $175 million isn’t something we need all at one time. This is a project that will last probably for the next ten years. We will borrow the money over that time and project there will be no tax increases during that time," said Bielang.

The main focus of the bond money would go toward five new elementary school buildings and one remodel.

"The five elementary schools we are looking at are Amberly, Central, Haverhill, Woodland and Angling Road. Those five are our oldest, and then Moorsbridge Elementary School is the one that we would remodel," said Bielang.

Bielang said the buildings have served the district well over the years but due to their age have outlived their usefulness.

"They may look good from the outside, but on the inside we have aging infrastructure. We don’t have electrical capacity to meet today’s demands. These buildings are not air conditioned. Our students are coming into environments that are not equal to what the other students have," said Bielang.

The bond money would also be used for other needs like new buses and bringing new technology into the classrooms.

It would also help complete initiatives left unfinished from the past few years.

"What it does is it really closes a loop on all of the projects we have been working on, from our high schools, to our middle schools, to our athletic facilities and now to our latest elementary schools," said Bielang.

Superintendent Bielang told FOX 17 one of the new elementary schools will feature a higher capacity than the building it would replace, helping to address concerns of overcrowded classrooms.

If the proposal passes, the district said it would take approximately ten years to complete all of the projects.

Voters can cast their ballots on Aug. 3 at their local polling station or ahead of time through mail.

Click here for more information on the bond proposal.

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