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Schools face Friday deadline to keep or remove bond proposals from May ballot

School leaders in the Reeths-Puffer district made the decision Tuesday night to remove a $21 million bonding proposal from the May 5 ballot.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Reeths-Puffer schools announced a $21 million bond proposal is being pulled from the May 5, 2020 election.

"The current state of affairs, in my opinion, puts people in a position of having to make a decision about their support of this issue, while also considering the impact to their own families relative to the COVID-19," Steve Edwards, Reeths-Puffer School Superintendent said in an email to district residents Tuesday night.

The school board is expected to take official action to remove the bond later this week. "It is just not the right time with all of the uncertainty for our families," Edwards wrote. 

In Michigan, 55 counties are scheduled to hold May 5 elections. There are more than 100 school districts seeking bonding proposals. 

Muskegon Public Schools decided Wednesday afternoon to leave two bonds for voters to decide on the May 5 ballot.

In Grant, the school board will decide early Friday morning what, if anything to do with its bond request.  

School Superintendent Brett Zuver says the board's decision will leave him sufficient time to inform three county clerks before a Friday afternoon deadline. Grant schools include portions of Muskegon, Newaygo, and Kent Counties.

"We need to have an answer to them Friday at 5 p.m.," Zuver said.

Grant's $17 million bond would connect an elementary school to a primary center, build a new gym, and support other important infrastructure improvements. 

Complicating the decision for school districts is the possibility that the May vote in Michigan could be by mail-in only.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said earlier this week she's considering options for voting that do not jeopardize public health.

"It's unprecedented times," Zuver said. "We're all working together and we will figure it out."

Ballot printing in some counties has already started, that will likely mean some bonds removed by school districts will still appear on ballots. 

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