I will vote “no” on the Nov. 7 ballot for the Owosso Public Schools’ request of a $45.5 million, 30-year bond to build a new junior high school, etc. This is essentially the same bond proposal floated previously, pool notwithstanding. It is a bad idea, and not “different” because it is made by a community PAC (Political Action Committee).
A smaller bond proposal for a shorter term targeting specific projects (like Corunna) will increase the likelihood of passage, and allow Owosso to move forward to maintain and improve its campus at an affordable pace. Remodel the old junior high, as those kids should not be on the same campus as high schoolers; the congestion at North and Hickory streets will be absurd, and Owosso doesn’t need another empty building downtown.
To claim that the proposed millage will add little to most residents’ tax bills, or that low-income residents “won’t be hurt” is arrogant. Who is to be the judge of whether a tax or rent increase will not affect another person’s ability to buy medication, pay rent, or make a co-pay. The number of Shiawassee County residents, especially kids, living below the poverty line (which is a strong predictor for educational outcome) continues to be appalling.
Owners of non-homestead property are already doing the heavy lifting by paying the 18-mil school operating expenses, from which homestead property owners are exempted. Non-homestead property in the Owosso school district (which includes rental housing and businesses) has 30.90 mils for education already in place, which means that 56 percent of taxes go to schools. A new bond issue at 4.73 mils would mean a total of 35.63 mils for schools. In contrast, homestead property has 12.904 mils for education in place, and the new bond issue would mean a total of 17.634 mils.
I feel like Sisyphus, condemned to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill by fighting the endless efforts of the school district, and now its PAC, to pass this millage with contrived arguments that appeal to the emotions and do not consider any other way to do things. There continues to be no basis in fact for the claims that more young people will come, let alone “remain” in Owosso, if we build a state of the art school, or that the area will attract more physicians, let alone that Owosso will no longer be a vibrant community like Lake Woebegon unless this millage passes.
Please consider turning this millage request down, and demanding a more reasonable effort to improve our schools. That said, the important thing is to vote, regardless of your