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Coloma Community Schools looks to Tuesday vote for needed funding

COLOMA, Mich. -- While the spotlight is on Indiana’s primary on Tuesday, Coloma is one of several Michigan communities that will be voting on tax proposals that can have a serious impact.

As you drive through Coloma, you’ll see yard signs scattered throughout the streets that say, “Show your #Comet Pride – Vote May 8, 2018.”

“We really have limited options in Michigan when it comes to capital improvements in school districts because the state doesn’t provide that type of a funding,” said Coloma Community Schools Superintendent Pete Bush.

That’s why the school board decided to request a 1.25 mill sinking fund this year.

If it passes on Tuesday, a taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 will have to pay about $5.20 more each month in property tax.

It could mean roughly $482,000 more each year for the district through 2027.

The money would go toward needed repairs and upgrades, if voters say yes.

“They should [say yes],” said Susan Spears, a mother of two students in the district. “I’m just not one that’s probably able to do it, but I’m going to try my best.”

Bush walked ABC57’s Taylor Popielarz through the high school and junior high on Monday.

Ceiling tiles are missing in the hallways and buckets are out collecting water in the closet of a science classroom because the roof of the high school and main gym is decades old and leaking.

Teachers eat lunch in their lounge next to a garbage can that also collects leaking water.

The concession stand by the gym had to close during a game in February because it started to flood.

And outside, the potholes and cracks in the parking lot show how badly it needs to be resurfaced.

“Our board of education really feels like this is the right direction for our school district,” Bush said. “And they just really encourage our community to get out and vote.”

The money would also go toward installing security cameras throughout the district, in an effort to improve school safety.

Bush said the board decided on a sinking fund, rather than a bond, so the district can pay for projects in cash and not have to pay interest down the road.

The last bond proposal that passed for Coloma Community Schools was in 2012. Before that, one passed in 1991.  

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