Voters approve $17.8M Godfrey-Lee school improvement bond

WYOMING, MI – Voters approved a 30-year, $17.8 million bond for the Godfrey-Lee School District on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Taxpayers are helping fund a much-needed building renovation after a portion of the roof collapsed at Lee Middle and High School last summer.

The proposal passed 1,505 to 730, according to unofficial election results from the Kent County Clerk’s office.

“Our students deserve the very best learning environment to allow each and every student to live out their hopes and dreams through the education they receive at Godfrey-Lee,” Superintendent Kevin Polston said in a news release.

“The improvements at Lee Middle and High School will transform our classrooms, provide flexible learning space, make the school more accessible, and enhance our performing arts program.”

No one was injured at the school, located at 1335 Lee St. SW., when the roof caved in overnight June 5, 2019, destroying seven classrooms and the psychologist’s office in senior wing.

The bond will raise taxes by an average of $5.50 per month or $66 per year for the district’s average homeowner, officials say. The district’s median home value is around $78,000, according to the district website.

Polston thanked the Wyoming community for supporting the school district through the approved bond.

“The investment and trust our community provided to Godfrey-Lee Public Schools will create a better learning environment for our students,” said Polston.

“Godfrey-Lee takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars seriously, and look forward to making good on the promise of enhanced school facilities for students.”

Along with building new classrooms, the bond will help the district install air conditioning in the building. School leaders say this would make the building more comfortable for learning during the summer months as well as increase air flow in the building for better air quality.

The bond also includes safety and security improvements in the school, including renovations to the fire alarm and fire suppression systems and controlled access to the building.

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2021 is 1.67 mills over the prior year’s levy. This would be $1.67 on each $1,000 of taxable value for 30 years, generating a total of $17,790,000.

Engineers said the cause of the collapse was the failure at the bearing point of steel bar joists on the building’s west wall, which were corroded over time due to exposure to water.

Additional improvements funded by the bond include:

  • Four new classrooms to replace those that were lost in the structural collapse
  • Construction of a Community Wellness and Resource Center and a new Media Center, which the public can access
  • $350,000 intended for instructional technology equipment
  • $390,049 intended for furniture for the new classrooms and Media Center and replacing old, worn out furniture

Godfrey-Lee was the only Kent County school district with a tax proposal on the general election ballot.

More on MLive:

A guide to candidates, proposals on Nov. 3 ballots in Kent, Ottawa counties

Grand Rapids-area election results for Nov. 3, 2020

Kent County clerk reports busy activity at the polls even with surge of absentee voting

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