Voters approve bond proposals in Bentley and Grand Blanc schools

GENESEE COUNTY — Voters in the Bentley and Grand Blanc school districts approved bond proposals in Tuesday’s special election, marking the first time such an election has been conducted entirely through absentee ballot in the county.

The Grand Blanc Community Schools bond issue was an approximately $87 million, zero-increase proposal. It was approved by a vote of 6,396-4,411.

School officials said about $86.925 million will be raised to complete several projects for the aging Grand Blanc Schools.

In the Bentley Community Schools district, officials asked for a $2.2 million bond renewal (no tax increase) of a current 0.6 mills of debt which would fall off if not requested to be renewed. The proposal will finance repair and renovations of infrastructure. Voters approved the measure by a vote of 732- 433.

In Grand Blanc, the bond will also not raise taxes. The current millage will continue for the next six years, which amounts to $6.30 for every $1,000 of taxable value for residences and businesses.

The bond will replace outdated furniture in every classroom with flexible furniture that is more conducive to an active learning setting. New heating and air conditioning systems would be installed at four of the remaining elementary school buildings.

The aging stadium concourse would be updated with new concessions, restrooms and an entrance that provides better crowd flow and safety. A new athletic complex would include a state-of-the-art press box and more seating. The grass football field, which limits the number of games and practices during wet weather and costs thousands of dollars to maintain, would be replaced.

The district’s two pools would be redesigned into an aquatics facility with larger bleachers, more swim lanes and a safer diving area. Softball and baseball fields would be updated. Roofs and parking lots throughout the district also would be replaced.

Work resulting from the bond, if approved, will be done in three different phases over roughly six-years. The district is working with its architects and construction firm to prioritize what order these projects will take place.

Once that timeline and list are complete, officials will share it with the community.

The Bentley bond proposal approval means a $0 tax increase from the current levy resulting in a decrease in bond payments from the existing debt, said district officials on the Bentley website.

If passed, the bond renewal will allow for facility improvements, safety and communication, improved learning environment and athletic upgrades.

Facility improvements will include:

• Replace boilers and drinking fountains at Barhitte Elementary

• Replace water heater at middle school

• Replace sections of roof at middle and high schools

• Install automatic temperature control systems

• Upgrade parking lots

Safety and communication improvements will include:

• Install new fire alarm head end system and intercom at Barhitte Elementary

• Upgrade security alarm system at all buildings

Learning environment upgrades will include:

• Update instructional technology and infrastructure

• Update the science labs and media center at high school; improve the stage area at the middle school

Athletic upgrades will include:

• Upgrade field events areas

• Install new time clock per MHSAA guidelines

• Prepare stadium for home track meets