$12.7M bond proposal would help build new gym, agriculture barn at Montague High School – MLive.com

Montague Area Public Schools is asking voters to consider a $12.7 million bond proposal in the Aug. 2, 2022 election. (MLive File Photo)
MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – Montague Area Public Schools has a 24-year, $12.7 million bond proposal on the August election ballot that would allow the district to build a new gymnasium and agriculture barn at the high school.
Montague Superintendent Jeffrey Johnson told MLive/The Muskegon Chronicle that a yes vote on the Aug. 2 ballot proposal would not result in a tax rate hike. He said the bond would not raise taxes above the district’s current tax rate of 7.8 mills because Montague refinanced prior debts in recent years.
The owner of a home with a taxable value of $150,000 would continue to pay $1,170 in annual taxes, Johnson said.
If approved, the estimated millage that would be levied for the proposed bond in 2023 would be 1.08 mills, or $1.08 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation, for a 0-mill increase over the prior year’s levy, according to the ballot language on the Muskegon County Clerk’s Office website.
The superintendent called the proposal a “co-curricular” bond that would improve the district’s facilities for athletics, science and the performing arts. The bond would provide more space for kids to get involved with activities outside of the classroom, which Johnson said can positively impact their performance in the classroom.
“This is a great opportunity to keep the district up-to-date and provide additional space for the many kids that want to be involved,” he told MLive. “Keeping kids involved I think is extremely important for their well being both academically and socially-emotionally for themselves, and staying active is a good thing.”
The two main goals for the bond would be building a new gym and a new agriculture barn at the high school, Johnson said. If there is still funding available after those two projects, the district would also add new auditorium lighting and technology upgrades at the performing arts center.
While it’s located at the high school, Montague’s agriculture barn is used by students across all grade levels districtwide, Johnson said. The barn gives students hands-on experience learning about farming, nutrition, biology and the business of agriculture.
If the bond passes, the district use the old barn as additional space for its career and technical education training, he said.
Johnson said the proposed new gymnasium would add more space for student athletes to practice at reasonable times after school.
“We’ve had a shortage of gym space and we’ve got kids practicing till nine o’clock at night every night, which is a later night and then they have to be back up early for school at 7:30 in the morning,” he said. “So, the bond will provide some extra space.”
The proposed gym would also have a new indoor walking track that could be used year-round and a fitness room.
Upgrades at Montague High School are the next step in the district’s long-term plan for facility updates, according to the district’s website for the bond proposal. The district conducted an in-depth facility study in 2017 where school leaders identified facility needs across the district.
Montague Area Public Schools is located in Muskegon County and has just under 1,400 students.
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