The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bessemer school voters reject bond effort


Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

ENNI GREGAS, Bessemer resident, votes on the special school bond proposal Tuesday in Bessemer.


Bessemer - Voters rejected a Bessemer Area Schools bond proposal in Tuesday's special election by a vote of 604 to 354, blocking the district's plan to turn A.D. Johnston into a K-12 building.

Voters in the city of Bessemer voted 385 to 234 against the proposal, while voters in Bessemer Township voted 219 to 120 against the measure.

Voter turnout was 34 percent in the election, with 36 percent of Bessemer voters and 30.9 percent of Bessemer Township voters turning out to cast ballots.

According to ballot language, the millage consisted of an estimated 4.7 mills in 2017, or $4.70 taxed on every $1,000 of taxable value; with the average millage rate expected to be 5.55 mills over the course of the bond - meaning $5.55 paid on every $1,000 of taxable value.

According to the language, the district was looking to raise an amount not to exceed $6,940,000 over the maximum 28-year life of the bonds.

The money was intended to allow the district to perform the necessary expansion, renovations and improvements to A.D. Johnston needed to close Washington Elementary School and move the students into a single building.

The renovations included the addition of elementary classrooms and bathrooms, an increase in energy efficiency through window replacements and boiler upgrades, added playground equipment, moving the kitchen to the current band room and construction of a new band room.

The district intended to recoup some savings through administrative retirements, the closing of Washington Elementary and the fact all the teachers would have been on one campus.

This conversion into a K-12 building had been pushed by district officials as an alternative to proposals to consolidate with a neighboring school district.

Editor's Note: Daily Globe reporter Ian Minielly contributed to this story.


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