Archived Story

‘Ranger Pride’ meetings to inform public about tax renewal

Published 3:03pm Thursday, January 28, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Cassopolis Vigilant

With less than a month until the polls open for a vote on the renewal of a 2.4 mill tax which would allow for an expansion of Sam Adams Elementary School, a series of town hall meetings are being offered for people to understand the details of what is being called “The Ranger Pride Project.”

After two failed millage attempts in the past to provide funding for a new K-8 building for Cassopolis Public Schools, the school system believes it has finally found an affordable way of improving school facilities for students.

If the millage passes, Sam Adams would be converted into a K-6 building without raising taxes.

Two new wings would be added to Sam Adams, one for kindergarten and first grade classrooms and another two-story wing for second through sixth grade classrooms. A total of 31 new classrooms would be added. The playground also would be completely enclosed, making the only possible entry point through the classrooms for improved safety.

Scott Ward, the chairman for the Ranger Pride Project, encourages residents to attend the town hall meetings to be fully educated before casting their votes.

“It’s important first that people come out and see what it is that we’re trying to accomplish and see how their tax dollars are going to be utilized,” he said. “We have actual pictures, schematics of the proposed buildings. We go through it in great detail.”

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about the project.

Three of the town hall meetings are already in the books, and Ward said the response has been positive.

“People seem to realize that something needs to be done,” he said. “We found a way to do it without raising taxes, so a lot of people are coming out in favor of it.”

Remaining town hall meetings include: Feb. 2 at Penn Township Hall at 7 p.m., Feb. 6 at Cassopolis VFW Hall at 3 p.m. and Feb. 18 at Cassopolis VFW Hall. There will also be a drop-in open forum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at LaGrange Township Hall on Feb. 13.

Currently, many of the classrooms at Sam Adams are too small with mold problems and poor wiring, according to principal Dee Voss.

The project would improve the indoor air quality, update lighting and technology and provide new life safety systems, sprinklers and fire alarms.

Two new parking lots also would be built to improve traffic flow for parent pick-up and drop-off and at athletic events at the school gym.

The project would cost $15.7 million and the millage renewal would bring in just more than $16 million.

Questions about the project can be directed to ranger pride@pathwaynet.com.

More information can be found at www.rangerprideproject.com.

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