Ballots for the May 5 election were cast primarily by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Monroe Public Schools soon will move forward with upgrades to its infrastructure and safety measures after area voters on Tuesday approved its request to borrow $59 million.
Although three area townships suspended their local elections, the Trojans relied solely on absentee voters after the Bureau of Elections declared the primary would be vote- by- mail only in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The unprecedented election appeared not to deter registered voters living in the City of Monroe and parts of Monroe, Exeter, Frenchtown, LaSalle and Raisinville townships who approved the measure 4,378-3,529, according to the preliminary, uncertified count.
“This accomplishment not only reflects the hard work and efforts of every stakeholder in the district family, it also reflects the will, the heart, and the promise our community holds for the public education of Monroe children,” said Supt. Julie Everly. “Our success (Tuesday) means we will be able to move forward with critical capital projects.”
The bond issue will be used to update the district’s more than 40-year-old infrastructure, Everly said. The district is expected to levy about 1.5 mills annually to pay off the bonds over 30 years.
At 1.5 mills – $1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value – a resident with a median home market value for Monroe County will pay about $6.25 to $ 12.50 per month, according to district calculations. That’s an annual cost of about $75 to $150, depending on the home.
Some of the bond projects planned by the district include creating secure vestibule entryways, making visitors pass through offices before gaining access to the rest of the school, Everly said. There also are plans for new fire alarms with public address systems, and security tie-ins would be installed at every school building.
The funds also would pay for facility upgrades such as boiler replacements, restrooms and playgrounds, along with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. In rooms where HVAC projects require ceiling replacements, energy-efficient LED lighting is expected to be installed, Everly added.
She noted that bond funds cannot be used for school employees’ salaries, retirement or other staff compensation. They are specifically designated for capital projects.
“At its essence, the bond proposal was about keeping our schools safe, warm and functional,” Everly stressed again Wednesday morning.
The district anticipates a cost savings of more than $300,000 annually, from energy bills and reduced operational costs. Over 30 years, district consultants projected the savings to reach $10.7 million, she said.
It’s also a hope that the upcoming construction projects will generate jobs for area construction and trades workers, playing a role in the area’s economic recovery after necessary business closures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“There is no doubt that this important work for our children will play a critical role in our local economy, as many citizens who work in the trades will be engaged in the projects,” Everly said. “The voters have invested in our schools, in our students, and ultimately, in our community.”
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