Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 14, 2013

TC Chamber supports TCAPS millages

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce is throwing its support behind two Traverse City Area Public Schools millage proposals.

The chamber's Board of Directors decided to back the district's millage proposals Tuesday morning.

"It was the board’s consensus that strong schools are an integral component of successful communities -- communities that retain and attract talent, jobs, and investment," Doug Luciani, the chamber’s president and CEO, stated in an email to TCAPS officials.

Voters in November will cast ballots either for or against a $35-million, .20-mill main TCAPS proposal for, among other projects, reconstructions at three elementary schools, bus and technology replacements, and security upgrades at Central High School and West Middle School. They will also vote on a separate $13 million, .09-mill proposal for auditorium reconstruction at Central High School.

TCAPS previous $100-million millage proposal lost at the polls last November by about 7,000 votes. The defeat prompted a review of the millage by district officials that included a telephone survey of registered voters and feedback forums with community members and the chamber's board of directors.

Luciani said he's never seen such a "deep dive" into the reasons a millage proposal failed. He added the decision to split the proposed millage projects into two separate ballot questions proves district officials learned from last fall's defeat.

"The bond proposals they're putting in front of voters truly reflect (that) they listened to what voters said," Luciani said.

TCAPS Board of Education President Kelly Hall said she was pleased with the chamber board's endorsement of the millages.

"It reflects we've got good proposals and they are good for the economic development of the whole region," Hall said.

TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said district officials are finalizing plans to educate community members about the two new proposals.

Chamber officials will launch their own initiative to teach business and property owners about the benefits of the suggested millage projects, Luciani said.

"All of the things that go with quality of life and quality of place -- good schools are a big part of that," he said.