Monroe Public Schools will ask voters to approve a $60 million bond issue this May to help upgrade buildings that area schools officials say are showing their age.
“I was born in 1976,” Heather Boon, school board trustee, told the Monroe News. “Our newest building was built in 1975. Every day I wake up with aches and pains, so I think the buildings may need a little bit of help.”
Many school buildings are much older, built between 1949 and 1961 with an average age of 63 years. Monroe Middle School was built in 1928.
School officials said upgrades need to be made, including to the heating boilers and electrical systems.
“We have old buildings, and we don’t know when our boilers are going to break down,” Board President Robert Nichols told the Monroe News. “We need to be proactive and make upgrades to our facilities now.”
The median home price in Monroe County is $157,000. If the bond passes, residents with a similarly valued home will see an increase in their property tax from $6.25 to $12.50 per month.
School officials said the money would go toward the most-needed school repairs.
The improvements would include boiler repair and replacements restroom upgrades, secure entrances, greater fire alarm coverage, public address systems, heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements.
Schools Superintendent Judy Everly said the Board of Education authorized the submission of an application for preliminary qualification of a bond issue with the Michigan Treasurer’s Office.
The bond election will be held on May 5.
“As our equipment continues to age, we expect maintenance and operational costs to increase,” Everly told the Monroe News. “The calculations don’t include the cost to the district if a building has to close or a delay should equipment fail.”
Jerry Oley, director of school facilities, said the bond package will allow the district to formulate long-range facilities plans for all its buildings.
“We believe this is necessary and a very reasonable bond proposal,” he said. “We’re not asking for brand-new buildings. We’re asking to maintain what we have.”