East Lansing School Bond Passes by Slim Margin in Unofficial Results

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 7:35 am
By: 
Karessa Wheeler

The East Lansing citizens who voted yesterday passed a proposal allowing the School District to borrow up to $93.77 million. The money was requested for the complete rebuilding of five elementary schools and the renovating of a sixth.

In unofficial results posted by the Ingham County Clerk at 10:11 p.m. Tuesday, just 145 voters made the difference. In total, 2,783 voters or 51.34 percent chose “yes” and 2,638 or 48.66 percent voted “no."

The breakdown of votes by precinct shows divided views throughout the City:

  • Precinct 1: 18 yes, 1 no
  • Precinct 2: 134 yes, 134 no
  • Precinct 3: 307 yes, 415 no
  • Precinct 4: 292 yes, 240 no
  • Precinct 5: 250 yes, 264 no
  • Precinct 6: 212 yes, 214 no
  • Precinct 7: 241 yes, 295 no
  • Precinct 8: 371 yes, 334 no
  • Precinct 9: 220 yes, 141 no
  • Precinct 10: 81 yes, 59 no
  • Precinct 11: 301 yes, 281 no
  • Precinct 12: 6 yes, 0 no
  • Precinct 13: 1 yes, 0 no
  • Precinct 14: 0 yes, 0 no
  • Precinct 15: 13 yes, 1 no
  • Precinct 16: 149 yes, 35 no
  • Precinct 17: 72 yes, 64 no

Also included in the vote tally were City of Lansing Ward 1, Precinct 45 (61 yes, 35 no), Meridian Charter Township Precinct 20 (53 yes, 124 no) and Bath Township (1 yes, 1 no). You can view East Lansing's precinct map at the City Clerk's site.

Overall, 5,513 people voted, or 18.27 percent of those registered.

Thank you East Lansing voters for putting our students and teachers first and passing the bond!!! And thank you to all the amazing community members who worked so hard to make this happen. This is a victory for the ages!!!!!” wrote East Lansing Schools Trustee Karen Hoene after the results were released.

The District is planning to use the bond funds to pay for the construction of five new elementary schools on the current Donley, Glencairn, Marble, Pinecrest and Whitehills sites. It also includes funds to update the currently closed Red Cedar Elementary to allow it to house students whose school is under construction. When all construction is completed (the stated completion goal is 2021), the District has said that Red Cedar is expected to house an early childhood education program. Whether it will be used as a sixth elementary school has yet to be determined.

Also undetermined are the exact layouts and structures for any of the schools. Board members and administrators have repeatedly promised to allow the community to have input in the new schools before construction takes place.

Construction is expected to take 15-18 months per building. Red Cedar would be renovated first, with the rebuild of Donley Elementary first on the list of complete reconstructions because it is the only site large enough to allow for construction while the current building is in use. The order in which the rest of demolition and construction will occur has not yet been determined. According to the Board of Education and the District, no redistricting is expected to take place.

The bond increases the current debt millage rate for residents in the East Lansing Public Schools district to 7.00 mills. School administrators estimate that will increase taxes by around $180 a year for a house with a market value of $200,000. (Click here to see ELi's calculation based on school district-provided information.)

In 2012, East Lansing voters rejected a $53 million bond proposal that would have renovated the five elementary schools, reconfigured MacDonald Middle School, and repurposed Red Cedar. That proposal lost by just under 350 votes.