Ferndale Schools Seek Bond For School Renovation on Election Day

Ferndale Public Schools is seeking a $120 Million bond on the March 10th ballot that would go toward a new school and repairs to aging buildings.

Tuesday’s election isn’t just about the Democratic Presidential Primary. Ferndale Public Schools has a 10-year / 120-million dollar bond proposal on the ballot. The bond is structured to avoid a tax increase for Ferndale residents.

Superintendent Dania Bazzi discussed the necessity for the bond with WDET’s Russ McNamara.

Click the player above to hear Superintendent Dania Bazzi’s talk about the bond and announce recycling grants.


Why make changes now? 

Superintendent Dania Bazzi: Certainly at Ferndale High School (pictured above) and Ferndale Middle School, that campus the building was built in the 1950s. It is a solid building, but much like your home, it’s in need of mechanical, plumbing, and roofing upgrades, which are substantial on a 420,000 square foot building. So it’s going to handle that aspect of it.

On the need for security upgrades

I think that’s something that’s on the minds of all educators, all parents, families, community members, and ensuring that we’re having a family-friendly, open school, you know, that community members feel that they they’re welcomed in the school, but at the same time, using an abundance of caution to ensure that we have safe facilities that can be secured when needed.

On using the March election instead of creating one in May

If the district went for a vote in May, there’s really nothing else on the ballot within the communities that we serve. So that would require the school district to pay for the election cost. So by maximizing the March date, we don’t have to pay those election costs.

Is there a strategy to putting this up for a vote in March?

The strategy is the timing of the bond. Because we have particular bonds that are falling off. This allows us to go for a zero projected tax rate. So we’re asking current voters to hold the millage rate at seven, which is what we currently levy for the school district. So the timing also is impacted by that. August also is usually a very, very low turnout. And generally, from my experience, voters don’t like schools to put such a substantial initiative within August – and November would be too late. 

What if the bond doesn’t pass?

We have to still work hard to provide our students with the very best learning environment and will work diligently to do so. At the same time, you know, we’ll go back to the drawing board, see where we missed the mark in terms of capturing the essence of what the community wants, and go forward again.

How much was the community involved in crafting the bond proposal?

I’m very happy with the process we used with this particular bond because this was really driven by community members, parents and families. We have a bond committee, we surveyed residents, we really took the time to make sure that all of the communities voices were heard within this bond proposal.

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.