Monday, April 1, 2019

Benzie Central's Future - How did we get here?

I think it’s important for our community to understand how and why this bond proposal came about.  When I first came to Benzie Central in the 2016-17 school year, it was well known and understood that we had some significant infrastructure issues coupled with budget concerns.  It was critical that we right-size the district and formulate long term plans to ensure our viability. To that end, we held a series of community forums and meetings.  From these meetings, a Future Planning Committee was formed to ensure our own community was actively involved in  formulation of both short-term and long-term plans.

We have had dozens of community members participate in our future planning sessions that have taken place regularly over the past two years.  The dialogue has been rich, and we have considered MANY different potential paths forward as we chart Benzie Central’s future.  In the end, we had strong consensus on the path forward that you will see on the ballot on May 7th. 

The goal was to strike a balance between ensuring long term viability and improvement while maintaining a strong focus on being good stewards of our taxpayer resources.  We wanted to keep any taxes levied at the lowest level possible while ensuring that we had sufficient funds to accomplish needed improvements that would sustain and support Benzie Central students and the community for generations.

This plan seeks only a modest increase in overall millage rate (3.0 mills up from our current 2.5 mills) to generate over 47 million dollars.  The committee felt that this was the best “bang for our buck” and has worked hard to help our community neighbors see the immense potential return on this investment.  We have already seen a great outpouring of support including endorsement from our Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce and many other groups and individuals.

If you’d like to learn more about the proposal and the projects that Benzie Central hopes to accomplish with the support of the community, I invite you to attend one of our upcoming Q&A sessions regarding the bond proposal.  They will be held on the following dates:

 DATE             TIME                LOCATION

April 10th         6PM                 Betsie Valley Elementary (Library)
April 17th         6PM                 Lake Ann Elementary (Library)
April 18th         7PM                 Benzie Central High School (Auditorium)

On April 18th, Benzie Central resident and 101st District Representative, Jack O’Malley, has graciously offered to attend and speak to the importance of the bond proposal as well.  We appreciate his support and attendance!

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