Plymouth-Canton Board OKs May 7 Bond Election
Board votes 4-3 to put $114 million bond question on May 7 ballot.
With a new face on the board, the Plymouth-Canton Board of Education voted 4-3 Tuesday to pursue a $114 bond that would replace the outdated Central Middle School and offer technology and facility upgrades throughout the district.
New board trustee Kim Crouch, appointed three hours before the vote from a pool of four finalists, cast one of the deciding votes. She joined board president John Barrett, secretary Adrienne Davis and treasurer Sheila Paton in supporting the measure.
Crouch said she had been following the issue by watching video of each meeting and researching the facts before Tuesday's vote.
"I was pretty familiar with the issues that came up today," Crouch said. She said she had been following the bond since it was initially reported in November 2012.
Board treasurer Judy Mardigian and trustees Mark Horvath and Mike Maloney voted against the proposed bond.
Mardigian said she supported the upgrades in the package, but preferred the vote be held later to allow the district to drum up support and promote the benefits of the bond.
"May is really aggressive," Mardigian said. "It does not mean I’m against the bond. I'm very concerned about not getting it right the first time."
According to Brodie Killian, the district's executive director of business services, the district could only pursue $80 million instead of the proposed $114 million if it wanted to keep its goal of holding the debt levy at 4.1 mills.
That $34 million chasm was enough for Davis to emphatically insist the board support the earlier vote.
"I can't believe these trustees would walk away from $34 million," Davis said, referring to those who supported a later vote.
While Horvath said he would not stand in the way of the vote (he voted against the proposal only after it was determined it had enough board support), he wouldn't feel comfortable selling it to the public and answering questions about the bond's logistics and benefits.
Maloney shared similar sentiments.
"Right now, where I’m at, I would vote no tonight if question was to call for election in May," he said before the vote. "I'm not ready to answer questions I know citizens are going to ask me."
One sticking point with Maloney was a hefty technology proposal. The district proposes $15 million in technology upgrades, which includes equipping each student and teacher with an iPad tablet.
"I’m concerned about the technology plan and the capacity," he said.
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