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Residents Have Mixed Reactions to Fenton's $9.6 Million Bond

Fenton Schools would use the funds to purchase technology, school buses and improve traffic flow.

Some Fenton residents stand behind the application for a $9.6 million bond to be placed on the May 8 ballot. Others aren't so sure.

Fenton Schools approved the proposal and in January and would use the funds to purchase technology, school buses, improve traffic flow at  and increase parking capacity at . Additional security updates are also planned for every school building, according to the Fenton's Area Public Schools website.

Many Fenton residents posted their feelings about the bond on the Fenton Patch Facebook Page.

Theresa Cummings said she will support the bond for sure.

"Our technology is so outdated," she said. "Our children need to have this to be successful now and in the future! The drop off and parking situations are very dangerous and we need upgrades to alleviate this problem."

Vera Hogan said "no way" to the parking lot reconstruction.

"One of the things they want to do is improve the traffic flow between AGS and the high school. They redid that a few years ago - no DO OVERS!" she posted

School officials say current computers don't have, and will not support, the programs and systems required for students and staff.

"Technology, research and writing are necessary skills for today's job market," Fenton Superintendent Timothy Jalkanen said, according to the Tri-County Times. "In order to be competitive with other school districts in the county, we need to update our technology."

Officials also said Fenton buses at the average are 12 years old and are getting expensive to repair.

Kristine Kundrick said she will support the bond, albeit reluctantly.

"I still have a child in the system and if you do not support the bond, the school will go for blood and cut out busing or some other vital service claiming they have no money," she said.

A $9.6 million bond would equal approximately a 1 mill increase or about $80 annually for a home with a market value of $160,000.

Kristie Trapp said it may not sound like much, but it all adds up.

"I see the need but would have a hard time saying yes because of all the families who are barely scraping by as it is," she said.

If the bond doesn’t pass, the district will make improvements as it can afford them or take money from the general fund, according to the Flint Journal.

“We want to keep those general fund dollars really focused on the classroom,” Doug Busch, director of finance and personnel, told the Flint Journal.

Kristie Easler Trapp March 25, 2012 at 04:49 PM
It is unfortunate that some in the community think that they should stop supporting the schools when their children graduate. The school was not built on the day your child entered with only your tax money. Those who went before you paid their way & continued to do so while they attended, just as you are being asked to do & we will do long after our children are in college & beyond. In return, those of us who have school aged children support the Loose Senior Center & pay Social Security, knowing we will not benefit from it. If you feel your neighbor is cheating the system, perhaps you should call the Admin office and express your concerns. Perhaps you are unaware of the true circumstances. If you feel the offices are overstaffed, I would suggest you spend a few days volunteering in one of them to see if you change your mind. I can guarantee you will be surprised.
stephanie pytlowanyj March 25, 2012 at 09:30 PM
The first bond (over a decade ago) was a large one; as I recall it was about 87 million dollars. Also as I recall we were told another bond wouldn't be requested for 20 years. Well it's not even been 20 years since the first bond and the school district is back asking for a 3rd one! As I recall a consultant was even hired to get the first bond passed and the guilt trip strategy that was utilized worked. And there certainly were a lot of questions about how that money was going to be spent. One clear example I remember was $35,000.00 for a ladder for the pool. There was a bond, if not the second, then the first that dealt with the poor parking at the Elementary schools as well as building a cafeteria/auditorium at each. The Fenton kids are lucky....they aren't having buildings closed, services cut, and limited busing as some districts are doing to make ends meet. Personally my wallet isn't a deep well for Fenton schools to keep drawing from. Finally, why didn't the administration have the foresight to realize some of these issues with the software, etc., At the minimum we shouldn't have been told no more bonds for 20 years. At the maximum the school district needs to start trimming some of the fat in the school, and putting forth a good faith effort before I vote for another bond.
Kristie Easler Trapp March 26, 2012 at 03:00 AM
The first bond did build the new cafetoriums for all three elementary schools, but there were no parking upgrades at State Road except for the bus loop next to the cafetorium. The soccer lot & the main lot have remained unchanged for at least the 15 years I have lived in adjacent neighborhood. Perhaps you are thinking of one of the other buildings. The last bond was in 2006. At that time, the software we are discussing was 3 years old and the new software didn't come out for 7 more years. When your car is 13 years old, you are either looking for a new one or trying to limp along making repairs to the old one. FAPS has been making repairs for a number of years. It is now being done at the expense of educating our children. You can't pre-pay software that hasn't come out yet. I don't recall ANYONE ever saying there would be no need for a bond for twenty years. I can't imagine that someone would. That would be like saying because you replaced your water heater in your house, you will never need another dollar to sink in it. As you stated, the huge bond was over 10 years ago. Over the past five or so school funding has been slashed and slashed and slashed again. Comparing an 87 million dollar bond & the upgrades it provided to the amount that is being asked for is somewhat like comparing apples & oranges. Again, for a $160,000 home, the yearly cost is $80, the cost of the average family of 4 eating out an equivalent of twice in a year. Less for those with homes of lesser value.
Kristie Easler Trapp March 26, 2012 at 03:16 AM
It is unfortunate that you believe that cuts have not been made in the district. Elementary classes have been bursting for the last 5 years at or near the max number of students allowed per teacher. Teachers are buying their own supplies or the PTO's are providing them. We have not seen the deep cuts to our "extra" programs such as sports and the arts because we have a strong community of boosters for the individual programs and PTO's in the K-8 buildings. Parents are raising money or paying out of pocket to support the programs because they are important to them. Studies show that students who are interested in extracurricular programs perform better in school, as participation is based on their grades. Last year a few parents put together the now annual Tiger Run to raise money for the sports programs to prevent the cuts we have seen in other areas. Our support staff, teachers and even administration have taken cuts. It is obvious that no one will change your mind about this issue. It is easy to be critical when you are uninvolved. Hopefully our discussion will shed some light for others who come upon it who are willing to look at the facts. I thank you for helping me resolve to work to pass this bond that I was somewhat on the fence for to begin with. One more thought, if you think our home values are declining now, research the impact that failed bonds have on people's perception of the community they are looking to move into. That isn't a "scare tactic," but a fact.
stephanie pytlowanyj March 26, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Nope, all 3 elementary's had work on their parking lots with money from either the last bond or the bond before. And yes, I'm certain we were told no more money would be asked for a long period of time....you could search for that info in the TCT. Further, if you read the TCT it's written what cuts the Holly and Linden school districts are making. You never read that about Fenton, all you read is that Fenton is proposing yet another bond. If the classrooms were "bursting" for the last 5 years then why does Fenton Schools participate in school of choice? Teachers have bought their own supplies for years now and I doubt that will ever change. It's the nature of the beast. Just like I have to buy my own stethoscope etc., You are using scare tactics and in fact a lot of the tactics that were used over a decade ago.....write letters to the editors in favor of the bond, call into the hotlines in support of the bond, etc., Also, it's the foreclosed homes in Fenton, not the school district that is causing home values to decrease. If you don't understand that perhaps you need to read an economics book. Further none of your posts to Patch indicate you were "on the fence" (another tactic used in prior bonds). Finally I just don't trust the Fenton Administration with anymore of my money until they demonstrate that they are fiscally responsible. I still haven't forgotten that expensive ladder for the school pool--how irresponsible.

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