By Sterling McGinn

The Tahquamenon Area Schools (TAS) Board of Education is beginning the process of placing a school bond proposal on the November 2, 2021 ballot.

The board approved the preliminary qualifications of the bond application at their regular meeting held Monday, June 21 at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

The proposal is for a $9,750,000 millage for remodeling the existing elementary building, along with additions and security upgrades for the facility. The estimated millage that would be levied in 2022 is 1.90 mills, which amounts to $1.90 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation.

The maximum number of years the bond of any series may be outstanding, exclusive to any refunding, is 22 years.

The new proposal will be the fifth attempt to pass a bond for necessary school repairs and updates in recent years. The most recent bond sought 3.3 mills, and about $10 million. It was defeated in November 2019 by a vote of 699 to 824.

Superintendent Stacy Price said then that the failed votes have become part of the process to discover what the community will support.

If this new proposal is passed, grades 7-12 will be relocated from the old high school to the second floor of the elementary building, which would be totally remodeled. The second floor was initially used for grades 6-8, however, that section was closed several years ago. “This proposal has us not tearing down the high school,” stated TAS superintendent Stacy Price “It will be closed down—they call it mothballing. That has been a big portion of discussions in previous bond proposals,” Price stated.

Price also noted that the scope of the project is in two series. The first series would be for roof replacements on the elementary portion of the facility, and the second series includes all of the renovations and additions.  Some of the renovations and additions for the facility include: conference and community rooms, upgrades to existing classrooms, replacement of elevator equipment, restroom renovations, and new security cameras as explained by Can You See Me CCTV & Security.

“The focus here is on our students, and on educating them,” explained Price. “A big part of it is the renovation—the upgrading of our science wing, to get those science rooms up to date. “

TAS board president Stuart McTiver stated that there would be an upgrade to the entranceway to make it more in compliance with safety standards. “We do buzz in, but at that point they have full access to the high school. I can’t lock any doors in that direction for fire safety,” Price said.

Prior to the start of the regular session, a truth in taxation public hearing was held at 5:45 p.m. No members of the public participated.

In other news, the board accepted the resignations of K-6 principal Craig King, and 7-12 Social Studies teacher Patrice Bedford. Both King and Bedford are taking positions outside of the district.

Other business that evening included the approval of budgets and a report from Stacy Price.