School district moves bond vote to August ballot
In light of the coronavirus health crisis, the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education moved the bond proposal from the May 5 ballot to the ballot on August 4 at a meeting on Friday, March 20. The district said it is still committed to the proposal and its ability to reshape the district for its long term future. The decision to postpone the bond proposal came as all public and private schools are currently closed until at least April 13, by executive order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which is approximately three weeks before the May 5 election. The bond question remaining of the May 5 ballot had the likelihood of becoming either an all mail election, or being postponed by the Secretary of State. Municipal clerks have recommended moving proposals to August or November. “The May absentee-only ballot concerned us from an equity and inclusion perspective. For example, in a normal voting situation, someone with a disability is welcome to bring someone with them to help them vote. In a time when our country is being asked to practice social distancing, it is not guaranteed that individuals in our district requiring assistance would be able to receive voting support. Having an absentee-only vote is also less inclusive for anyone else who may prefer or otherwise need an in-person voting venue. It is important to us that everyone who wishes to vote on our proposal is able to do so without limitations,” said Boomfield Hills Schools Superintendent Pat Watson. Billed as a bond that will transform the district and shape its future, on Thursday, January 30, the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education voted to place a $200.155 million bond proposal to support school renovation, additions, security and the movement of some school populations on the May 5 ballot. At that time, Watson, who joined the district January 6, said in a letter to Bloomfield Hills School families, “An incredible amount of work has occurred to reach this decision. Nearly six years of research, community engagement, and consultations with field experts have led to this $200 million proposal,” which will include safety and security upgrades at all schools; three middle schools combining into two middle schools, including re-opening the former Lahser High School and renovating it as a middle school, with Bloomfield Hills Middle School as the other site; significant renovations at Conant and Way elementary schools; the movement of Lone Pine elementary to West Hills Middle School, which would become the new Lone Pine, with renovations and updates; Eastover would move to East Hills Middle School, which would become Eastover, also with renovations and updates; Bloomin' Preschool would be housed and expanded at Eastover and Conant; and Bloomfield Hills High School would receive health and wellness upgrades, among other improvements. Improvement and renovation costs were driven by findings of the Scope and Design Committee. Educators, staff, current, former and future parents worked together to look at various options and to provide feedback on options.