"Vote Yes" committee supports Morenci bond proposal 4.2

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s “Vote Yes” committee is looking for volunteers to help work toward passage of the May 6 bond proposal for school maintenance.

The committee will meet at 7 p.m. April 10 at Stair Public Library to discuss plans for a campaign hoping to ensure voter approval.

Committee members are Adam Johnson, Carrie Dillon, Penny Baumgartner and Joe Farquhar.

Farquhar said he and Johnson recently toured school facilities and came away even more convinced of the need for maintenance work. The elementary school is now more than 50 years old and the high school has been in operation nearly 40 years.

“Probably the biggest thing that surprised us was the condition of the elementary school bathrooms,” Farquhar said.

The most noticeable problem is the stalls rusted through at the bottom, he said. Plumbing problems at the school include classroom sinks that need to be replaced, but removal will take a special effort due to an asbestos wrapping.

The parking area in front of the school is a lot worse than he realized, Farquhar said, and needs to be rebuilt.

Farquhar said the showers in the high school are the original units and not in good repair.

“The track is in hideous condition and people should realize that it’s not just for the track team,” Farquhar said. “Gym classes and a lot of community members also use it.”

One coach from a league school said he doesn’t want his team competing there this year due to the cracks, bare spots and dips in the surface.

Farquhar said it needs to be rebuilt correctly with drainage so the subsurface will last longer.

Farquhar said he was inquisitive about the finances behind the bond proposal, so he traveled to Lansing with school officials to meet with a panel of bankers, attorneys and representatives from the state treasurer’s office.

“All of this is audited down to the last screw,” he said. “I think the bond is an excellent opportunity. The board of education really did its homework on this.

“You can go on giving the same amount of money you have been giving and get a lot accomplished.”

Taxpayers are being asked to hold the existing middle school bond millage at a steady rate for the next five years to allow $1.4 million worth of maintenance projects. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an average of $40 a year for five years.

If the bond fails, taxes paid on the middle school bond will begin to decline this year.

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