Among the school bond proposals on local ballots Tuesday, Ann Arbor’s was by the far the most ambitious – a $1-billion bond for building improvements. The measure passed with 53% of voters saying yes. Many other communities also voted on large school bonds.
Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou spoke with Gongwer News Editor Zach Gorchow about the top results and school funding across the state.
The measure in Ann Arbor focused on mainly infrastructure improvements. The district said the school buildings in Ann Arbor are more than 60 years old on average. The bond will be paid off over 30 years. Superintendent Jeanice Swift has said voters were tired of the district coming back to them more frequently for shorter bonds.
Gorchow called the district's proposal the “eye-popping” and said it got the attention of educators across the state.
“Maybe this isn’t something that can’t be replicated because Ann Arbor is very unique, but they took a unique approach and it paid off for them,” Gorchow said. “I’m curious to see what other districts will take from this.”
Dearborn also had a large school bond on the ballot. Voters turned down the $240-million proposal. Lapeer voters also shot down a bond. Novi, Brighton, and Chelsea all passed their school bond proposals.
Based on early results, Gorchow estimates roughly three quarters of the school bonds across the state passed. He said that’s pretty typical.
“They tend to do especially well in the suburban types of communities," he said. "It tends to be the rural areas where they don't do as well, but by and large, voters seem to be supportive of raising their property taxes to replace or renovate their school buildings.”
Select results for Michigan school bond proposals
Ann Arbor - Passed
Brighton Area Schools - Passed
Chelsea Schools - Passed
Dearborn - Failed
Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency - Passed
Lapeer Community Schools - Failed
Novi (Bond proposal and sinking fund millage renewal) - Both passed