— Albion voters approve annexation —
– MPS Board President: Now the hard work begins –
From the Ad-Visor & Chronicle
By JOHN HENDLER Editor
Used with permission
Effective July 1, Albion Public Schools will become part of the Marshall school district after Albion district residents on May 3 overwhelmingly voted to be annexed by neighboring Marshall Public Schools by a margin of 1,528-628 or 71 percent to 29 percent.
Voter turnout was approximately 30 percent. Annexation means that the MPS district will nearly double in size and increase its taxpayer and voting base by nearly 75 percent.
Until July 1, the Albion district will still function under the supervision of the Michigan Department of Treasury and its Board of Education will still be maintained at which point it will be dissolved. On July 1, all assets and liabilities of the Albion district will be turned over to MPS.
MPS Superintendent Randy Davis said the annexation vote means the Albion community is looking to improve its childrens’ educational opportunities. With our partners at the table-Starr Commonwealth, Kellogg Community College, Albion College and also our regional manufacturing base working with our skilled trade students, we feel we are able to create multiple pathways for kids to succeed, whichever direction they have to public ed and into post secondary education, said Davis.
This is really exciting. All of us are now needing to reinvest and embrace that new model and were going to be extremely busy in getting that fully implemented. We have all the components; we just need to be able to put all that to implementation where kids are able to access that and move forward. Davis said there is much to do to get things in order for the start of the new school year in September. If you think of all the different areas we have to address, from personnel, facilities, financials, technology, transportation, food service-that should be able to present a strong Pre-K-5th grade model for an elementary in the Albion community by fall, theres a lot of work to be done, he said.
The state will hold on to the $4.2 million MPS was awarded by a 22g grant until annexation becomes official July 1, but MPS will be able to draw down monies for all the pre election work that was done, approximately $123,000. The remainder of the money will begin to be utilized at the point of annexation on July 1. The first thing we are going to be doing will be paying down the (Albion) operational debt ($3.6 million) as determined by State Treasury, so, its going to be a transfer of dollars, really, said Davis. There will be a little money left over, earmarked for facilities and which facilities are we going to be using. Im trying to put together a public forum in Albion to discuss that because we have to make that decision fairly quickly. Davis he would be meeting with the Department of Treasury to create an interim plan between now and July 1.
On Facebook, the anti-annexation group, Albion’s Future posted the following: We want to thank everyone who voted. Even though our side didn’t win, a statement was made. It’s an awesome thing to exercise your right to vote. Please don’t be discouraged. MPS Board President Richard Lindsey said the annexation campaign was about what was best for both districts. Albion Alliance for Annexation put together a campaign that brought everyone in the community together behind that common goal, said Lindsey.
Now, this is about the future of our two communities, working together to provide a fantastic Pre-K – 16 education to every student in our new district. Now the hard work begins and we are ready for the challenge and we will be better together.
Article and photos © Ad-Visor & Chronicle. Used with permission.
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