VB board puts school improvement levy on ballot

VAN BUREN — Come November, Van Buren School District residents will have a chance to show support or vote down a $28.7 million school improvement levy.
The Van Buren school board on Thursday night approved sending the 7-mill, 30-year tax to the Hancock County Board of Elections.
“Now we know what direction we’re going in and we can start to educate voters and make sure the public knows about it,” Superintendent Tim Myers said.
The board will have another special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the district’s community room to start figuring out the campaign for the levy. The public is invited to come and participate in the meeting.
Five people attended Thursday’s meeting and only one spoke against putting the $28.7 million levy on the November ballot.
If passed, the levy would fund the construction of 34 new classrooms, a new gym, replacement of heating and cooling systems, and relocation of the district’s bus garage to another site.
Classrooms would be larger than current ones to allow for more flexibility and the possibility of increasing student enrollment, Myers said.
“We’re building for growth,” Myers said.
The district’s $28.7 million levy is a slightly smaller version of a $29.3 million levy that voters turned down in May with 853 votes, or 62 percent, against it, according to the Hancock County Board of Elections. The bond issue had 527 voters in favor.
School board members said the dollar amount and the length of the previous bond issue, 37 years, may have kept residents from voting for it, leading the board to seek about $600,000 less and shorten the bond issue length by seven years.

Courier education reporter Max Filby will have more on Friday.

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