BANGOR, Mich - A number of Southwest Michigan's public schools are putting bond proposals on ballots in the November 8th election despite voters denying them recently. In the last election, none of the proposed public school bonds passed in Berrien or Cass County.
Jeff Melvin, Principal at Bangor High School, says the roof he’s stands under every day is falling apart. "You can see the stains on the carpet," he points out. Watermarks stain the walls where water runs into classrooms when it rains.
The school was built in 1967 and it’s never had a new roof. “It’s had some minor repairs but never a full re-roof,” says Melvin. A new roof is the number one item on Bangor School's wish list that voters can take care of in a few weeks.
Voters denied an $11 million proposal to fix needs at the school in 2008. School officials made cuts and hope voters will accept a less expensive option. “We’ve got it down to about $8.4 (million) and that is just bare bones,” says Ron Parker, Superintendent of Bangor Schools.
Parker says the cuts are as far as they can go. “Some things were left on the wayside that we still think we need but not as badly as the things we’ve listed,” he says. Parker says people want to help the schools but paying more taxes hasn’t gone over well anywhere. “There’s a lot of support, but who knows with the economic conditions.”
Fixing the schools sure makes sense to Melvin. “It’s like if your roof was leaking day in and day out. What would you do with it?" he says. "You’d get it fixed.”
Other Southwest Michigan schools seeking bond issues are Constantine Schools and Bridgman Schools. Buchanan Schools and Lakeshore Schools both have plans to retry their proposals after they failed last election.