Charlevoix Public Schools Says Tax Payers Won’t See Increase if Bond Proposal Passes

The $14 million bond Charlevoix Public Schools is proposing would go towards renovating and merging two elementary schools in the district.

They say one of the properties is barely used, and right now a financial burden.

“It’s a building that’s not utilized and we really have to reduce our footprint,” Mike Ritter, Charlevoix Public Schools superintendent said.

Ritter says taking one of their buildings off the books would save at least $50,000 per year in operational costs.

“It’s a financial burden because you still have to heat, light, pay for sewer, water, basic things like that, insurance, kind of the full gamete as to what is to keep a building operational,” Ritter said.

Besides helping finances, Ritter says elementary students will also benefit from having a cafeteria and bigger classrooms.

“Those classrooms will be anywhere from 900 to 1,200 square feet, dramatically bigger than what we have to offer at the elementary school,” Ritter said.

With two larger school bonds expiring in the next few years, Ritter says this 25 year bond is similar to a refinancing and taxpayers won’t even see an increase.

“What we are able to do by being fiscally responsible is having a no rate increase in taxes going forward with this proposal,” he said.

As for the current elementary school, Charlevoix County has already approved their purchase of the building for $1.4 million, but that’s contingent on the school bond passing tonight.

The county wants the building for its senior activity center and eventually all of their offices

“I would like to move the commission on aging offices up there, and since the school is renovating the court, school will be losing its home, up in that area also.

What we would like to see is all the county offices eventually go up there,” Cheryl Potter Browe, Charlevoix County Clerk said.

Superintendent Ritter wants to be clear that this is a completely separate proposal from the regional enhancement millage.

That millage that’s being voted on in 11 districts through Charlevoix, Emmet and some of Antrim County Tuesday will increase taxes by 1 mill.