ESCANABA - A bond proposal to renovate Escanaba schools passed by a narrow margin Tuesday.
Residents of the Escanaba School District were asked to approve a $21.6 million bond proposal for renovation of the 50-year-old high school, along with improvements to Webster, Lemmer and Soo Hill Elementary. Unofficial results show the bond request passed by a narrow margin of 128 votes, with 1, 346 in favor to 1,218 opposed.
The results will not be official until the board of canvassers meets later today to certify the results.
Dionna Harris | Daily Press
From left, former Escanaba School District Business Manager Tom Sabor, Superintendent Michele Burley, former high school Principal Jim Hansen and current high school Principal Doug Leisenring review the final unofficial results of Tuesday’s school bond election. The district was seeking approval for a bond for renovations to four of the district’s school buildings and bus garage.
According to Delta County Clerk Nancy Kolich, voter turn out was light in most precincts, with the exception of Precinct 2 in the city of Escanaba which saw a 30 percent voter turnout.
"On average, we had a 17.46 percent voter turn-out for the election," said Kolich.
"I am just overjoyed not only for the district, but also for every single student - both those students we have now, and our future students," said Michele Burley, Escanaba school superintendent, after learning of the unofficial results.
Burley said the next step for the district is a conference call with the district's financial advisor and bond attorney to begin the procedures necessary for securing the necessary bonds.
"I would expect we will begin actual work on the project in March, in those areas we can without creating a disruption for our students," said Burley. "We will be meeting not only with our architects, but also the stakeholders, which are our students, staff, parents and residents of the community, who will have a say in the final design concerning the renovation."
Burley said a timeline for the project will be created, with a much work completed as possible before the start of the 2010-11 school year.
"The total project is expected to take about 2.5 years to complete," said Burley.
Jim Hansen, former Escanaba High School principal and bond supporter, said he was elated with the outcome.
"I started in 1963 as a sophomore at Escanaba, and returned in 1978 as assistant principal at the high school," said Hanson.
Hanson said it was nice to see the district being able to upgrade everything.
"The community stood behind education and our kids, and this will bode well, for the community, our students, and future students, in addition to those parents look at what school they want their children to attend," said Hanson.