’No-mill increase’ for Ishpeming schools a good idea

Are leaky roofs and playground equipment that constantly needs to be repaired conducive to a good learning environment?

Probably not, and that’s why Ishpeming Public Schools is asking for voters to approve on the Nov. 2 ballot a bond proposal for improvements to Birchview Elementary School and Ishpeming Middle/High School.

The IPS Board of Education is requesting voters approve the selling of bonds of no more than $3.9 million to fund the projects. The proposal is to levy 1.05 mills for 18 years, which would replace a bond for which the last payment will be in May. If the bond proposal is approved, the money would be levied for the first time in July.

That means the proposal is a no-mill increase over the previous year’s levy.

The last payment for the current bond will be in May, so approving the new proposal should not affect taxpayers’ pocketbooks.

As with many other places, school buildings get old and need repairs. New rooftops are needed, along with heating/cooling units. This is the case with Ishpeming schools.

Also, a well-used community asset, the play structure at Birchview would be replaced if the proposal passes.

Projects at the middle/high school include paving of the parking lot for students, new LED lighting in the auxiliary gymnasium and new exterior doors.

Of course, school districts need good teachers and instructional programming, but they need to be complemented with safe and updated equipment.

Since IPS’ proposal is a no-mill increase, we see it as a big win for the school district. It’s an essential investment in the schools, which means it’s an essential investment in the community.

We certainly understand and are sensitive to those who might oppose this millage issue. Times are tough and the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to completely loosen its grip on Superiorland.

That said, supporting our public schools is among the most basic requirements of citizenship and residency. The kids depend on the adults to make the right decisions, even when difficult.

We therefore wholeheartedly urge voters to approve the proposal on the November ballot.


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