Brighton School District Bond Measure (May 2012)

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A Brighton School District Bond Measure was on the May 8, 2012 ballot in the Brighton school district area which is in Livingston County.

This measure was approved

  • YES 4,969 Approveda
  • NO 4,476 [1]

This measure sought to issue a bond in the amount of $88 million in order to pay for improvement projects and general upgrades to the schools. One School Board member voted against the proposal, noting that a smaller bond which was more specific for technology needs and a sinking fund would better suit the school. Another member agreed with the bond but though the ballot language was too vague. Other members noted that the broad language will allow for the school to manage projects as it sees fit and that making detailed descriptions of all proposed projects would take up too much space. If approved, a property tax increase of around $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value would be implemented to pay for the bond.[2]

Proponents

Those in favor of the bond, including school officials, had noted that the bond was needed in the district because repairs and upgrades had been put off for too long and the district gets further behind others as each year passes. School officials had pointed out several issues with current buildings, roofs leaking, athletic fields in bad repair, and note that if the issues are not dealt with soon they will just get worse over time and end up costing residents more later. They also noted that the school serves as a anchor for the community, if the schools are in bad repair then people will not want to move to the area and lead to further declines.[3]

A group of current Seniors at the high school went to a recent informational meeting about the bond to voice their support of the measure. The students noted that they thought their time at the schools was worth while and would like to see future students have improved facilities. They also saw it as a way for the students to leave a legacy, if they were able to help pass the bond so that future students would remember their efforts. The students mostly comprised of student leaders within the school. They were also aware of the fixes that need to be done and voiced their hopes that the bond would help with those needs.[4]

Opponents

Opponents to the measure noted that the athletic upgrades felt more like luxuries rather than real needs for the district. The bond could reduced to a more manageable price if only those needs which were essential to the schools were put forward. Also, many still struggle with economic hardships, so any additional taxes are felt more on average incomes.[5]

A local group, RetakeOurGov, who was opposed to the measure sent out robo calls in early April, encouraging voters to vote "no" by stating that the school district officials were misleading residents. The leader of the group noted that the school district is being sneaky in that they chose to place the measure on the May ballot where there is typically fewer people who vote as opposed to having it placed on the general election ballot in November. Also, the group stated that the district has mismanaged funds and therefore do not completely trust that this money would be used as it has been stated it will be used for. Though the group stated that they believe buildings need to be fixed, they did not think this was the right way to go about it. School officials countered that placing the measure on the May ballot was not sneaky as it wss one of four officials state election dates.[6]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Shall Brighton Area Schools, Livingston County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Eighty-Eight Million Four Hundred Fifty-Five Thousand Dollars ($88,455,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, in one or more series, for the purpose of: erecting, furnishing and equipping additions to and remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing and equipping and re-equipping school buildings; acquiring and installing educational technology and equipment for school buildings; constructing, remodeling and improving athletic fields, athletic facilities, play fields and playgrounds; and preparing, developing and improving parking areas and sites?[7][8]

Additional reading

References