Brandywine superintendent discusses next steps after bond election passes

Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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NILES — Brandywine Superintendent Travis Walker expressed gratitude Tuesday for the support of Brandywine school district voters in approving a $22 million bond issue.

Residents in Berrien and southwest Cass Counties voted on the millage. According to unofficial ballot results from, with five out of five precincts reporting there were 808 voters who supported the millage and 405 who voted no. The millage passed by 403 votes for a 67 percent approval rating.

“I think this is a major step forward for the whole community,” Walker said late Tuesday. “We will be able to improve the schools, enhance facilities and create a better learning environment for students.”

“I think this is a reflection of our community’s desire to equip students with a quality education,” he added. “We’re grateful for their support.”

Walker said he was glad that district residents did not listen to the “no” campaign waged against the proposal with people going door to door. 

“I’m glad that they were able to see through the misinformation and straight out lies and keep the best interests of the community at heart,” he said.

He noted that while he understands that some of those opposed did so because they oppose the principle of bond issues being funded by property taxes, they should fight to change the laws in Lansing. “Bond issues are an important part of school funding across the state,” he said.

Walker said the next few months will be busy ones for the district as plans ramp up to sell bonds and work out the details of the projects to be completed. The bonds will be sold in two series, with one series sold in May and June and one series two years from now.

He said the school board will be approving details of each project funded by the bond issue after getting input from staff, community members, students and recent graduates. All the projects are expected to be done by the summer of 2027.

The board will also determine the sequence of projects that makes the most sense. He said he anticipates that it would be most logical to first construct safe and secure entrances at all three district schools. The cost there is expected to be $275,000 for each school.

Another first phase project likely to be undertaken is the construction of a new CTE addition at the Middle/High School at a cost of $6.75 million. The district currently offers machine shop, auto shop, cabinet making and millwork programs for south county students and could offer more with the bond issue approved.

Second phase projects would then include the remodeling of the current CTE space at a cost of $650,000 and also the construction of a new performing arts center at a cost of $9.5 million.

Other bond issue projects to be done include a $1.7 million gym addition at Merritt Elementary School so that the cafeteria and gym don’t have to share the same space, a new baseball field at the middle/high school, resurfacing of the track, new turf for the football field and middle/high school parking lot improvements.