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Education

Campaign to pass school millage in Grand Rapids kicks off today

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Lindsey Smith
/
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids School board trustee Jon O'Conor (left) and resident Michael Tuffelmire talk about the campaign following a press conference this afternoon.

A group of parents and school leaders in Grand Rapids is kicking off a campaign to pass a property tax increase to pay for improvements at more than 30 school buildings.

The proposed increase would cost an owner of a home worth $100,000, $54.20 a year. It would pay to replace worn-out roofs, heating systems, and windows. It would also pay to get rid of asbestos and replace old fire alarms.

Reverend Joe Jones says a group of parents and others in the community will be campaigning to pass what they’re calling the “Warm, Safe, and Dry Schools” millage.

“It’s about insuring that our community’s children have access to the best possible environment in which to learn.”

Jones says the millage is part of a parent-led five-year-strategic plan to improve student achievement and graduation rates in Grand Rapids.

“It’s an investment in the future,” said Shaya Newquist. She co-chairs the committee charged with the strategic plan. She says the investment is in the greater Grand Rapids community.

“Even if your children do not go to Grand Rapids Public Schools, (those who are) are in your community and they’re in your neighborhoods playing with your children.”

The district expects to see long term energy savings from many of the building improvements in the proposal.

Voters will decide on the millage increase in November.

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