Rockford bond would improve security, buildings

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Rockford Public Schools will ask voters next week to pass a school bond to pay for, among other things, building and security upgrades.

If passed, the bond would spend $11 million on security, including redesigning front of buildings and installing shatterproof glass.

A Target 8 investigation in February exposed some security lapses in the district that Superintendent Mike Shibler at the time called “unacceptable.

Shibler said this week the investigation caught the eye of the local homeland security chief, who now plans to help the district with building security remodeling if the bond is approved.

“He did say that he learned about what we were doing in Rockford based upon the report that was on WOOD TV8,” Shibler said.

The bond would also pay for $15 million in technology improvements. Capital improvements, including upgrades to the performing arts center, athletic facilities and other needs for the district’s 13 school buildings, would get $50 million.

The bond would keep taxes at 8.5 mills. That rate has stayed the same since the 1990s.

“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” Shibler said. “I’ve been here 25 years as the superintendent here, and I pay taxes just like everybody else. Quite frankly, I think it’s a good deal to say, ‘Let’s keep it the same.'”

If the measure fails, the tax rate will fall to 6.5 mills, which amounts to an about $250-per-year decrease on a $250,000 home.

“Then none of this that I’ve talked about in these presentations will happen — not the security upgrades, tech upgrade, not the capital improvements.” Shibler said. “So, then, where are we as a community left as far as wanting to be an attractive environment for people to either send their kids here or move here?”

Rockford residents can go to the polls between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday to vote on the issue.

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