Voters were open to school bond proposals in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana

Register now

School bonds were decided in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio on Tuesday with favorable results for the biggest three proposals.

The three largest proposals on the ballot -- a $100 million bond measure for Kalamazoo Public Schools in Michigan, a $80 million bond measure for the Northeastern Local School District in Ohio and a $65 million bond measure for Goshen Community Schools in Indiana -- were approved.

The Kalamazoo Public Schools' largest-ever authorization will fund replacement of Edison Environmental Science Academy, additions to Phoenix High School, upgrades to school facilities, construction of a district-wide kitchen and more than $4 million of improvements to school security.

The referendum passed with about 70% in support.

The proposal increases tax rates by 1.25 mills compared with 2017-18, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $62.50 per year.

“Most of the projects funded by this bond are basic needs,” the school district said in a statement. “Without the bond, these projects would still need to be addressed and would be paid through the general budget, which would require cutting educational programs and services for students.”

Moody's Investors Service rates the district’s general obligation bonds Aa3, with a negative outlook. It has $184.2 million in bonds outstanding. S&P Global Ratings rates the Kalamazoo district's GOs AA-minus, with a outlook.

Clark County, Ohio's Northeastern Local School District won its bid to authorize $79 million of debt to build two new schools. The measure passed by a margin of 56% to 44%.

Voters rejected a similar bond proposal from the district in November by a 52% to 48% margin, according to data from the Clark County Election Board. The school asked for $2 million in additional funds this time around for construction cost increases and a mandate that requires the district to build a storm shelter.

The state will contribute about $40 million to the project, bringing the total cost to $119 million. Passage of the bond would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $295 a year. The new schools could be completed by 2021.

The school district has one small bond outstanding that was issued in 2005 that has one payment left, a spokesperson with the district said. Moody's rates those bonds A1.

In Indiana, Goshen Community Schools district’s $65 million measure to fund a new school for fifth and sixth grades and add on to Goshen High School was the largest bond on the ballot to be approved by voters on Tuesday.

The bond issued passed with 51.72% voting in favor.

The plan is for the corporation to issue bonds for $65 million at an estimated interest rate ranging from 1.20% to 4.75%.

The school district's current debt service levy is $10.6 million and after the bonds are issued, the debt service levy will increase by a maximum of $5 million, according to a district report.

S&P rates Goshen Community Schools GOs AA-plus, with a stable outlook.

The district also had an operating referendum on the ballot passed. This tax levy will add 26 cents per $100 of assessed value to property tax assessments, compensating for money the corporation has lost due to both reductions in state funding and property tax caps implemented in 2010.

The operating referendum is projected to generate about $3.4 million in operating funds per year for a period of eight years, according to the school district.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
School bonds Bond elections Ohio Michigan Indiana