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Brighton Patch Readers Criticize $88.4 Million Bond Issue

Brighton Area Schools are asking for an $88.4 Million bond issue on the May 8 election.

Recently, Brighton Patch posted an article laying out the facts of the $88.4 million Brighton Area Schools bond issue: two series of bonds that will last 33 years, estimated annual, monthly and daily costs if the bond were to pass as well as a detailed list of how the money would be spent.

The comment section of the article caught fire with more than 50 comments from concerned parents, residents, taxpayers and business owners debating whether the schools need the $88.4 million.

Brighton Patch reader questioned the need for such a large bond issue.

"$88.4 million," he said. "Do we really need a new swimming pool? $9.4 million for new athletic facilities? Give me a break. How about getting back to basics...the three 'R's'? All this stuff is pure fluff and not needed. I truly pray that the good folks of Brighton have thier thinking caps on and vote no on this foolishness. Send them back to the drawing board to re-submit a bond request that deals with what is really needed...not all the goodies the Brighton Schools wish they could have. Fix what needs fixing - nothing more. The tired old refrain of 'it's for the Children' is really wearing thin."

Brighton Patch reader commented on the article, suggesting that those in doubt to tour the district buildings and see the conditions for themselves.

"If you are going to do the upgrades, they must be done right," Williamson said. "We are losing students everyday to Hartland, which has no problem supporting a large bond for their area. The luxury of a vote is the ability for each of us to have or own opinion. I have family members that come to school events and cannot believe the condition of our buildings. When was the last time anything was done? 25 years ago.$88 million is what it is going to take to bring Brighton back."

Williamson also said that blaming mismanagement is no longer an excuse, as the current superintendent, Greg Gray, is doing a great job.

"It's time to move forward and create an amazing learning experience for our future leaders," she said. "By the way, my children will be graduating and I still say vote yes!"

What are your thoughts about the bond issue? Will you be voting for or against it on May 8?

bright res April 24, 2012 at 02:09 PM
@Nate- I don't see any justified numbers coming from you either. Voters are asking for hard numbers. Fiscal responsibility and living within your means ARE family values. If we have not learned that in this country over the past 4 years, we are doomed. I wonder how much money the district could raise if it rented out the Lindbom property to someone? Has it even tried? What about selling it? If there is one person's business sense I trust on that board, it's John Conleys. I really don't care about what has happened with him in the press, the man clearly understands how to manage and grow a business. Administrators, come back to us with a better bond proposal. We love our kids as much as you do, but we don't need to buy them a fancy pool to show it.
Lisa Williamson April 24, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I still want to know if the no voters went on the tour with Dr. Gray? I assume No. The large majority of parents are done waiting and want what is best for our children. I am very confident this bond will pass. Thank you Brighton for supporting our schools :)
J. Michael Lenninger April 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM
No, I'm not a "NO" voter - yet. Nope, didn't go on the tour. But I have 3 kids who have been in 4 Brighton Schools so I'm pretty familiar with the infrastructure. I suggest anyone who hasn't listened to the recordings of the public forums do so - it's enlightening and you gain a lot of respect for Dr. Gray. We're lucky to have him here. @ Family Values: I would guess why Lindbom isn't a good place for a fitness facility is that it needs to be adjacent to the high school for athletics usage. Weight training for the football team, strength training for the swim team... Dr. Gray makes it very clear we're in a "sweet spot" for applying for a loan from the Michigan School Bond Fund. It's based on the last five years' value of our homes. If we wait, it will cost us more to borrow the money. I can't say that every dime of the $88 million is for real needs and not just wants. But a point that Dr. Gray makes is the only way we can increase the revenue is to increase the number of kids attending school here. Would improved facilities encourage the migration of young families to our community?
Property Owner April 25, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Did anyone take note that the biggest opposition seems to be coming from the Hartland Tea Party. Hmmm...didn't Hartland and surrounding districts (who also have representatives to ask Brighton voters to vote it down at the board meeting) pass their bonds to update and improve facilities which exceed what Brighton is asking. Other district voters can stay home and let us make our own decisions! Brighton taxpayers had a rebate about 4 years ago from unused school bond money. That is right...a rebate. I would rather pay less for more now! I want to retire in about 10 years and want my house value to go up. Paying for improvements to our schools now = Improving my house value!!! Families want the curb appeal first, then they look at the great schools in which my children enjoyed but have since graduated. I want to give future students the same great opportunities my children had. I am a Brighton resident who has traveled to Hartland and Milford to use their pools for activities and parties. I would love to see improved swimming facilities and stay closer to home! @ Family Values - The law is clear...NO BOND money can be used to pay salaries of employees. It can only be used for the intent stated on the bond. Don't cloud the issue with scare tactics and misleading information. Our teachers took a hit! Your values are not in the best interest of BRIGHTON FAMILIES! OUR BRIGHTON FAMILY WILL VOTE YES!
Jack - Support Local April 25, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I'm currently more No than Yes but mainly because I don't see the proof of need for all of it. Just because the money is cheaper doesn't mean we should take more. Regarding increasing the number of students.....there are many factors here, not just facilities. Is there research showing why people have left or have chosen another district? It's only a small sample but the people that I know that have left did not do so for facilities reasons at all. Additionally, when Miller was closed that took away the largest draw of out of district students. The argument was that most of them were there only for kindergarten but that doesn't change the color of their money and it certainly was not a 100% departure rate. Granted, that was before Dr. Grays time but it's something to note that had nothing to do with facilities. To be clear, I'm a Brighton resident not associated with the Hartland Tea Party (or any Tea Party for that matter).

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