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Dowagiac residents vote no for school millage

DOWAGIAC, Mich. --  The fate of Dowagiac's middle and high school were in voters' hands today.  One of the hot topics on the ballot was a nearly $20 million tax bond that would pay for necessary renovations.

The propasal did not pass.

In the last hour of voting only 13 percent of residents came out to vote.  The city clerk says usually it is at about 20 percent at that time.

"I just came down to vote for the school millage to get our high school updated so our kids can have a better chance of getting a good education," said Joel Okonski.

Okonski says the Dowagiac High School is in need of a serious upgrade.

"The high school is pretty old if you are going to spend the money you might as well spend the money on technology and give the kids a better chance," said Okonski.

According to the schools' bonding proposal that upgrade is going to cost over $19 million over the next 25 years.  Money the city would get by raising taxes on an average of $40 per year.

"Why am I voting against it? Because I can't afford higher taxes," said Janice Northrop.

Northrop said she does not have the money, but admits the high school needs some help.

"They probably could use some updates," said Northrop.

But she said not $19 million worth.

"I think they are going a little elaborate," said Northrop.

City Council member Lori Hunt says when you do the tax break down per home it really is not that much money.

"Even with $150,000 home, you are looking at $30 a year and I think that is a modest investment for our children," said Lori Hunt.

The superintendent plans on getting a community group together to discuss how to move forward with improving the school.

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