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Voters Easily Approve Mt. Pleasant School District’s $35.9M Bond

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Mount Pleasant School District officials and supporters are all smiles after Tuesday’s $35.9 referendum addressing instructional and academic needs passed by a more than 3-1 margin.

Mount Pleasant School District voters easily approved a $35.9 million instructional bond Tuesday evening that will reconfigure space in each of the four school buildings and expand Hawthorne and Columbus elementary schools.

There were no anxious moments among district officials when the results from each of the three voting machines were announced at the Westlake High School gymnasium shortly after 9 p.m. The tally in favor of the referendum, including absentee ballots, was 685-210.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Peter Giarrizzo said the work that will be done at the schools will put the district on a different trajectory academically.

“We come to these schools every day to focus on teaching and learning, and what this bond does for us, the passage of this bond does for us, it helps us to really enact the strategic plan and the program in ways that are going to launch us to the next level,” Giarrizzo said. “I cannot be more grateful for this.”

Each of the two elementary schools will see a more than 5,000-square-foot expansion to help provide more room for buildings that are at or near capacity. There will be four additional classrooms at Hawthorne Elementary to bring the kindergarten classrooms up to the recommended size of about 1,000 square feet each. Three new classrooms will be added at Columbus Elementary School.

There will be a variety of other renovations throughout the district with the creation of new labs and makerspaces that will provide state-of-the-art facilities that are suitable for 21st century instruction.

Board of Education President Michael Horan said the district did a good job communicating to the public the need for the improvements and additional space as well as explaining that the bond will not trigger additional tax dollars. When the district begins paying debt service on the bond for the 2026-27 school year, an equal amount of debt will be retired from the district’s 2005 bond.

“I think we got the word out and I think people understood that the no-tax impact, no additional tax impact because of retiring debt makes a difference, similar to the athletic bond that we passed a couple of years ago,” Horan said.

“So the community support means everything to us, they have faith in us, and I think it means our communication has been strong, we’ve been transparent in what we’ve been telling the public and I’m really grateful to the community for supporting us the last couple years,” he added.

In March 2022, district voters approved a $9.7 million bond that improves the district’s athletic fields. The final stages of work on that will be finished next spring. Upgrades to the district’s facilities started with the passage of an October 2016 infrastructure bond totaling nearly $40 million.

Giarrizzo said he also believed the community appreciated that district officials were addressing instructional needs.

“People have been signaling to us all throughout this process that the work is important, you have to get it done…we’re glad you’re focused on the instructional program, it’s really needed and we’re glad that it’s tax neutral,” Giarrizzo said. “But the day comes you don’t know how its going to shake out.”

Under the tentative construction schedule put out by the district, work would begin in the summer of 2025 at Hawthorne Elementary School and continue in staggered stages until the middle school work is completed in early 2028.

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