The Ferndale Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to put a $22.825 million bond proposal before residents on a Feb. 28 election ballot.
. It includes infrastructure updates such as asbestos removal from , heating and cooling systems for buildings and a kitchen area for .
"It's important to have safe and healthy buildings," board President Keith Warnick said. The upgrades would also improve “building equity” so all students have the same general facilities, he said.
On Nov. 21, the board to send the application to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Ferndale Schools Superintendent Gary Meier said the application was approved by the state treasury office as of Monday afternoon, before the board met.
“I’m pleased that the board has taken this action,” Meier said after the meeting. “I’m very pleased with the number of citizens who have stepped forward to support this issue.”
Since the Nov. 21 meeting – during which board member Nancy Kerr-Mueller expressed concern about residents not having enough time to learn about the bond – a citizens group has formed to campaign for the bond. and wants residents to get involved.
Importance of bond improvements discussed
A handful of residents attended the hourlong meeting at the on Monday, including members of Citizens for Quality Schools.
“We have a lot of work in the next few weeks,” said Ferndale parent Bridget Deegan-Krause, who is involved in the group. She said she's confident the community will understand the need for the bond.
“We are very convinced that maintaining our schools will keep our children learning and our community growing,” said Deegan-Krause, a small business owner and 12-year Ferndale resident.
The district’s consultants, TMP Architecture Inc. and George W. Auch, assisted in determining what projects needed improvement. The original list of projects included about $26 million in immediate improvements and $14 million in alternative projects.
Gary Arnett, a parent in Ferndale who was involved in the subcommittee that worked on narrowing down the proposed bond projects over the summer, said projects like the asbestos abatement are especially important.
“I certainly don’t want my kid or kids, or my neighbors’ kids, having to deal with that,” he said.
Board of Education member Jim Pfleger said he hopes residents will look closely at the projects involved in the bond.
“These are things that really need to be done,” he said, pointing out the extra money it takes to do repairs on worn-out equipment or when asbestos removal is involved. “I think anybody would say it’s not the icing on the cake, it’s the plate underneath the cake.”
Board member Katrina Collins shared the sentiment. “You need a good foundation,” she said.
“It’s really important stuff,” Kerr-Mueller said after the meeting. “I really want people to vote for it.”