Grosse Pointe Public Schools voters on Tuesday spoke loudly in turning down a contentious technology bond issue proposal that would have raised district taxes by 23 percent.
Seventy percent of those voting said “no,” to the $50.2 million bond issue proposal, a crushing defeat for the GP Tech Yes advocacy group, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“It certainly came as a shock to me,” Bob Haran, the group’s treasurer said of the 10-year measure. “Grosse Pointe has traditionally supported the schools at the polls.
Grosse Pointe school board president Joan Dindoffer said the vote – 8,486 for and 3,593 against – was “certainly more one-sided than I expected.”
Our earlier report:
Grosse Pointe Public Schools voters will decide Tuesday a controversial 10-year $50.2 million bond issue to buy new computers and pay for other technology upgrades.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
School officials say they need the money to replace outdated equipment to improve educational opportunities for the district’s 8,300 students, but critics argue the price tag is to steep, the Detroit Free Press reports.
A 1:1 model equipping each student in grades 3-12 with a personal computing device is included in the plan. Students would be allowed to take their devices home.
“We want to get more devices in kids’ hands,” said Chris Fenton, deputy superintendent for business affairs. “We’re getting away from textbooks and going more towards computers.”
The bond issue proceeds would also be used to replace or add generators, improve libraries and media center, upgrade phone systems, add security cameras and doors to increase school safety, install a private fiber-optic network and put new computers in classrooms and labs. About 85 percent of the district’s desktop and wireless laptop computers are more than 7 years old, Fenton told the newspaper.
If approved, district property taxpayers would see a tax increase of 2.28 mills in the first year. The estimated annual impact is:
- The owner of a $70,000 home ($35,000 taxable value) would pay an additional $79.94 in taxes per year.
- The owner of a $100,000 home ($50,000 taxable value) would pay an additional $114.20 per year.
- The owner of a $200,000 home ($100,000 taxable value) would pay an additional $228.39 per year.
- The owner of a $300,000 home ($150,000 taxable value) would pay an additional $342.59 per year.
Taxpayer Jenny Greenwell, 60, said she doesn’t think the district has made its case to voters.
“I don’t see where Grosse Pointe has connected the dots between spending this money and enhancing education outcomes,” she said.
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