“What’s good for the schools is good for the community,” Charlotte Public Schools Superintendent Mandy Stewart said at the groundbreaking ceremony on May 24 for new tennis/pickle ball courts near the Charlotte High school. This is phase one of a three-year improvement plan for Charlotte Public Schools. Restrooms, a concession stand, and walkable paths are also part of this phase. Construction will begin within the next few weeks and is expected to run to the middle of 2023.
The current school millage in Charlotte is 7.59. The $36 million bond was passed by voters in November, and the millage is still 7.59. “It’s like re-mortgaging your house,” the website explains. The bond was refunded to lower the tax rate, so there are no increases in the current tax rate.
“Things like this make Charlotte a place that families want to move to and live in,” said Charlotte School Board member Caleb Buhs. “It makes me proud to be a part of this.”
Superintendent Stewart was credited with “building bridges” with voters to help get the bond issue passed. “Getting the bond passed has been a priority of the district,” Stewart said. “We have a dedicated community and a passionate staff that all support Charlotte Public Schools.”
“It shows there is trust in the school district to take on the project, that people feel we are good stewards of their money,” Stewart added. “We want to continue to build that trust.”
Granger Construction was awarded the bid for the work. The schools have worked with and trusted Granger for 25 years, Jeff Tooley, Granger representative, said. He expects that the tennis courts will be ready for the fall tennis season.
The bond is focused on safety and security upgrades, operational efficiency and infrastructure upgrades, improvements to learning spaces, and educational program enhancements.
The work is district wide in scope. Old portable classrooms will be removed, and new classrooms will be built. School welcome centers will be enhanced for security, parking lots will be expanded to improve traffic flow, adaptable classrooms and media centers will be added. Roofs will be replaced at Parkview and the high school. A new agricultural learning center will be constructed with space for livestock and teaching. A new auxiliary gym and activity room will be added. Four school buses will be purchased.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the plans, requiring schools to have the necessary technology and the devices needed as they move in and out of the phases of the pandemic is vital.
State Senator Tom Barrett and Representative Angela Witwer attended the ceremony. “This has taken an incredible amount of hard work and it is moving the schools in a very positive direction,” Barrett said.
For more information about the bond projects, visit charlotteorioles.com/cpsbond2020/.