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Muskegon Public Schools finalize two bonds for voters to decide in May

Voters in the Muskegon Public Schools district are asked to approve two proposals.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Muskegon voters will decide a bond proposal separated into two parts in May. 

One proposal centers on buildings and academics and the second improvements to facilities for extracurricular activities and athletics.

Proposal 1 would maintain an existing 7.36-mill property tax to pay for a new Muskegon Middle School. The Charles Hackley Middle School could be built on land currently owned by Mercy Health at the Hackley Campus.

"If that cannot get finalized, then we’ll be building it at the Nelson site," said Matthew Cortez, Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent.

The school district plans to close both Nelson Elementary and Moon Elementary in 2024.

Proposal 2 would result in a 1-mill annual property tax increase to pay for athletic facilities including a new gymnasium at the high school, updates to the swimming pool and artificial turf at Hackley Stadium.

"Which would thus allow us not to have to go to Grand Haven to play our home playoff football games,” said Cortez. Artificial turf would also allow Hackley stadium to host additional events including more band events.

RELATED: Newly renovated pool opens at Muskegon Heights Academy

Both proposals are separate, but Proposal 2 can only pass if voters first approve Proposal 1.

Cortez says the district has about 300,000 square feet of excess space. Its buildings were built to serve as many as 9,000 students. Current enrollment in Muskegon Public Schools is just over 3,600.

For 82% of district residents, the 1-mill tax increase from Proposal 2 passing would amount to an annual property tax increase of $20 to $68.50.

Proposal 1 would lead to the removal of the high school’s power plant and the high school’s J Building.

Superintendent Cortez says he's begun meeting with neighborhood associations to discuss both proposals.

“I've already meet with five,” he said. 

The city has 15 neighborhood associations. MPS will host additional town hall meetings on the proposals leading up to May 5.

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