Coleman Community Schools proposes new school bond for $21.5 million

COLEMAN – Coleman Community Schools has proposed a $21.5 million school bond to be voted on August 3rd.

Though the district passed a previous bond in 2015, they were not able to complete all of the projects they had hoped to. That’s why they are once again asking voters to vote ‘yes’ on Tuesday.

“If the choice is between a school that’s updated and a school that’s not, people will a lot of times decide based on that,” says Jennifer McCormack, Superintendent of Coleman Community Schools.

Some of the upgrades include a working kitchen in the elementary school, media centers for both buildings, new auxiliary gym and renovating classrooms that currently have makeshift and less energy-efficient walls.

If approved, a home with a taxable value  of $50k would pay an extra $193 a year in taxes. Some people don’t believe now is the time for a tax increase.

“I will be voting no because the school district is Class C and we do not have enough children,” says long-time resident Jason Pankotai. “It’s not a good investment.”

Some voters feel the upgrades are also not feasible because of a decline in enrollment. But the superintendent says numbers were only down by 2 to 4 students prior to the pandemic.Those that oppose the proposed bond also say the facilities do not need an upgrade if there are limited class offerings.

“We don’t have academics. We don’t auto shop, no Home Ec., No wood shop. We have no academics. No outside academics that build people for their future,” says Pankotai.

McCormack disagrees.

“We’re reversing the trend by adding programming. And we’ve done that a lot -added zoology and Agro-sciences for K-12. We’ve added financial literacy, wrestling and competitive cheer, and American Sign Language. But all those things need space.”

People who want to estimate how much they would owe in taxes can use the district’s tax calculator. It does not save information and provides a trusted estimate of the tax increase dependent on income and taxable home value.

The district says they will have to reevaluate their long and short term facilities plan if the bond doesn’t pass.

Absentee ballots are currently available. Voting in person is open. Tuesday, Aug. 3rd, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.