The Examiner

Mt. Pleasant School Officials Hope $39.6M Bond Vote’s the Charm

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Westlake High School, where some of the infrastructure improvements are scheduled to take place should next Tuesday's $39.6 million capital projects bond be approved.
Westlake High School, where some of the infrastructure improvements are scheduled to take place should next Tuesday’s $39.6 million capital projects bond be approved.

For the third time in as many years, Mount Pleasant School District residents will vote on a multimillion dollar capital projects bond.

The vote on the $39.6 million referendum next Tuesday, Oct. 18 follows overwhelming defeats of larger bond issues in November 2014 and March 2015.

Despite the previous defeats, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Guiney said she is optimistic voters will approve the latest version. District officials have trimmed a number of projects, reducing the size of the bond from more than $55 million in the first vote and a combined $42.5 million in a three-proposition referendum.

“My sense is a more positive one at this point,” she said of community reaction.

Unlike the two previous proposals, next week’s vote is limited to health and safety items and infrastructure work, Guiney said. Projects such as a new turf field or auditorium renovations, except for HVAC systems, have been scrapped since the first vote nearly two years ago.

If approved, district residents with homes of market values of $500,000 would pay a maximum of $319 to $367 additional a year from 2020 to 2025 depending on whether they are enrolled in one of two STAR programs. During those years, residents eligible for the senior STAR property tax program would pay up to $319 more a year while those in the regular STAR program would pay a maximum of $345 annually. Those not enrolled in either would pay up to an additional $367 annually.

Payments would decrease by nearly half starting in 2026 for the 20-year bond, according to the district.

Guiney said debt service from this bond would not be included in the annual operating budget until 2018, when debt from several previously approved bonds would be close to expiring, she said.

If the bond were to fail, funding for the most needed work would have to be funded through the annual budget, Guiney said.

At Westlake High School, some of the projects proposed include roof and boiler replacements; new HVAC systems in the auditorium, music rooms and administration offices; upgrading HVAC controls; replacing the gym ventilation system; renovating restrooms; upgrading the fire alarm system; and replacing doors, electrical panels, ceilings, lighting and flooring.

Work at Westlake Middle School includes roof, window and boiler replacement; new HVAC controls; new HVAC systems in the library and administrative office; replacing gym ventilation; improved handicapped access; upgrading emergency lighting; renovating restrooms; improving the fire alarm system; replacing certain interior and exterior doors and electrical panels; rebuilding the masonry chimney; and replacing sanitary sewer piping, ceilings, lighting, flooring and carpeting in the music room.

Middle school/high school campus work includes repaving the basketball courts; installing a sidewalk on Westlake Drive; replacing concrete walks; replacing tennis courts; repaving asphalt drives and parking lots; replacing catch basins; and providing a new entry drive and parking lot.

Similar infrastructure and HVAC work is also slated for Columbus and Hawthorne elementary schools.

The work was recommended in the district’s Buildings Condition Survey from last year.

If the proposition is passed by voters, the state Education Department (SED) bidding would have to approve the project. Bidding would begin by next May, with construction scheduled to start next summer. Most work would be done during summer recesses and is expected to be completed by 2020.

Voting next Tuesday is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Westlake High School gymnasium. The school is located at 825 West Lake Drive in Thornwood.

More bond information can be obtained by visiting the district’s website at


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