Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 16, 2014

Editorial: TCAPS right to buy time to find building solutions

After two consecutive defeats at the polls, one by just 250 votes, Traverse City Area Public Schools officials could be excused if they took a “you asked for it” approach and closed elementary buildings in desperate need of repair or replacement.

Instead, the school board has wisely decided to find other ways to deal with looming building issues that just won’t go away.

The district will spend about $1.2 million to extend the lives of Interlochen and Eastern elementary schools for five to seven years, a commitment to what must be the district’s overarching mantra: The kids come first.

Interlochen and Eastern are both on the district’s short-short list for critical repairs. At Interlochen, the roof is in such a bad state there are real concerns the building could come down. So TCAPS will spend $715,000 for several projects there, including replacing the roof. The district will spend $465,000 to replace the roof and public address system at Eastern.

It would have been easy to simply say that if this is what the voters want, this is what they’ll get.

Voters in 2012 thrashed a $100 million bond issue that would have provided money to replace or repair Interlochen, Eastern and Glenn Loomis elementary schools. That bond would also have paid for big districtwide investments in technology and safety, and do critical work on Traverse City Central’s aging auditorium, entrance and offices.

After a months-long outreach and listening effort during which board members met with a host of community and parent groups to get feedback on the 2012 bond, the district tried again. It put two issues on the 2013 ballot totaling just over $48 million that together would have cost the owner of a house with a taxable value of $100,000 just $36 a year. The larger issue lost by just 250 votes.

That left the board with no easy way to pay for building repairs, technical upgrades, new buses and much more.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage