Lincoln Superintendent Lynn Cleary delivers final pitch for $35 million bond
Lincoln Consolidated Schools Superintendent Lynn Cleary presented her final pitch tonight for the district’s $35 million bond issue in Tuesday’s election, asserting that "our kids deserve a 21st century learning environment."
About two dozen people attended the forum in the Lincoln High School auditorium as Cleary laid out the critical needs to be addressed in the 4,700-student district.
Clearly emphasized voting to approve the measure won't increase the present levy of 7.35 mills. But a “no” vote wouldn’t cause a decrease until at least 2025, she said.
She likened the bond to a mortgage, saying, “We have superb facilities. We need to bring them up to code and bring them up to date.”
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Schools
She stressed that federal initiatives such as the Build America bonds—which are available through the end of the year—represent too good of an opportunity to miss. The program subsidizes much of the interest on capital improvement expenditures.
If voters say yes on Tuesday, some $16.8 million will be authorized for projects at the high school. The original part of the building was completed in 1960, and an addition came in 1996.
A new performing arts center is a top priority to supplement the school’s small auditorium.
“When I know the dance classes are performing at Milan High School, it breaks my heart,” Cleary said.
Replacing the cratered parking lot’s asphalt is another immediate need. If the bond is approved, work could begin soon after school lets out June 14.
A new roof is needed, and the natural-gas-fired boilers in the basement may be original in the 50-year-old structure, said consulting engineer Paul Theriault of Plante Moran in Southfield. He and Cleary walked through each of the district’s buildings to determine the most pressing problems.
Besides comprehensive infrastructure upgrades, the district is also looking to replace aging computers and add security systems at all buildings.
The proposed improvements to each school may be seen on a website the district has created.
After the bond proposal was announced in February, the Citizens for Lincoln campaign was created with former school board member Ken Goetz as chairman.
The campaign wasn’t just focused on parents of schoolchildren, Goetz said, because a strong school system benefits all property owners.
“In this economy, people are willing to spend more money, but they want to know what they’re getting,” he said.
Maria Heningburg is PTO president at Brick Elementary, where two of her three children attend. The aging building is slated for projects totaling $7 million.
“I’m hoping this bond will pass,” Heningburg said.
Ronald Ahrens is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at email@example.com or 734-623-2530.