Voters also approved the district’s annual renewal operating millage.
Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said he was “ecstatic and so appreciative of the incredible support” of the community.
“I truly believe this reflects the high regard our community holds for education,” he said. “I also believe it demonstrates the community has a significant amount of trust and confidence in our district to put these plans in place for our students.”
Konarska said they were optimistic going into Tuesday night because of the efforts made to help voters understand the issues. He said they owe a “tremendous amount of appreciation” to the co-chairs of the citizens’ group who supported the bond campaign — Sandy Huber, Patrick Moran and Jeff Beswick.
The district’s 18-mill renewal for non-principal properties and other non-exempt property, and 6 mills on commercial personal properties passed with about 80 percent of voters supporting the measure. The nonprincipal operating millage brings in more than $17.3 million for the district’s programs and services.
Voters approved Proposal 1 with 3,396 yes votes to 1,593 saying no. The proposal extends the district’s current levy, and it will generate $36 million through the next 10 years. It will pay for technology upgrades, infrastructure improvements, updated security cameras, bus replacements, students learning equipment, as well as roof and asphalt replacement.
Proposal 2 also got the nod of approval with 2,959 yes votes and 2,024 no votes. The proposal increases the district’s debt levy by 0.47 mill, and it would generate about $9.69 million. The proposal would include districtwide fencing, asbestos removal, improved traffic areas at Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School, as well as athletic and arts improvements.
The owner of a home with $100,000 taxable value will see an annual $47 increase in property taxes.
“I believe (the proposals are) going to help keep our district on the cutting edge of education and it’s going to help us maintain those 21st-century classrooms,” Konarska said.
Improvements to Grand Haven High School’s Performing Arts Center drew Keith Owens and his daughter, Emily, to the polls Tuesday afternoon.
Keith Owens said his children were involved in drama and choir productions, and he knows the improvements are needed. The Grand Haven man added that the annual renewal “should be a no-brainer.”
Emily Owens, a 2013 Grand Haven High School alumna, said she worked on productions including last year’s Bucs Above Distractions campaign. She said some of the outdated equipment needs to be replaced.
“There are many repairs that need to happen in the Performing Arts Center,” she said.
Although Ferrysburg resident Tim O’Donnell said he supported the annual renewal, he opposed the two bond proposals. O’Donnell said he thought the “school board should live within its means.”
“In this day and age, we shouldn’t be borrowing money,” he said.
Grand Haven resident Richard Bullington also opposed the bond proposals, saying he thought the school board should find money elsewhere. Bullington, who is retired, said he didn’t want his taxes raised.
“Every four to five years, they raise taxes,” said Bullington, 68. “I don’t think a raise in taxes is appropriate right now.”
Ferrysburg resident Don Gross, whose friends have children in the district, said he would like to see the proposed improvements because students are the future.
“It’s great for the kids,” he said.
Throughout the upcoming year, staff will be trained to implement technology and introduce it to students. Konarska said planning for construction projects will also take place within the next year, and more will be rolled out during the next 10 years.