Edwardsburg Public Schools construction bond may not pass over economic worries

NOW: Edwardsburg Public Schools construction bond may not pass over economic worries

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. -- Edwardsburg residents will decide on the future of a new construction bond for crucial upgrades to the public school district's infrastructure in the upcoming Michigan primary elections.

Improvements include a brand new school building for students in kindergarten through third grade, installation of new air conditioning systems and water service lines, and general security upgrades to the school's infrastructure.

However, with the improvements costing $59,620,000 to be paid over 28 years, some Edwardsburg residents are hesitant to pass the bond due to the 3.05 mill increase in the district's property taxes, which means they would pay $5.90 for every $1,000 of a property's tax value.

"It was at the point where we all wanted it, but right now everybody is kind of watching their wallets as well," said Karina Fernandez, who has a daughter in Edwardsburg Public Schools.  "I'm hoping we get it, but I understand if we don't, because I can't speak for other people's pockets."

School administration agrees that an increase in taxes is a big ask for families, especially during a time of inflation.

"I understand that there are good reasons not to vote for this," said Edwardsburg Public Schools Superintendent Jim Knoll.  "If you're in a situation where it's going to raise your taxes and make it untenable for you and your family, I totally understand that."

However, he believes that the bond will benefit the Edwardsburg community in the long term.

"There isn't anything else in the community that's as big as the school system," said Knoll.  "It holds up the property values, it educates the kids in the district, it employs a lot of the adults in the district, and without supporting that, the community is not going to be as vital as it should be."

The bond vote will be on the ballot for Michigan's primary elections on August 2.

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