For many Clawson residents and leaders, the passing of the school technology bond and library millage Tuesday reflects progression and dedication to the community. At a time when Michigan's economy still struggles, some feared tax hikes wouldn't fly in a strapped-for-cash city.
"We can't afford any more taxes," resident Patricia Bashakes said Tuesday after voting "no" on both proposals.
But election results proved most Clawson voters were willing to sacrifice an estimated $81.50 a year to fund brand new technology for students and help Blair Memorial Library continue its regular operations.
"I'm proud to be a member of a community that is willing to entrust its hard-earned tax dollars to those institutions and the people who help make them run," Clawson resident Chuck Rondeau said.
Schools to move forward
The 1.3 mill schools technology bond will generate $4 million over 10 years. The school district said it plans to start implementing the new technology this summer. Next school year, students and teachers can expect to see new desktop computers in the classrooms and computer labs.
Technology Director Marcus Isabell said he plans to meet with teachers and school administrators in the fall to decide what brand of smartboards, clickers and document cameras the district should order. All other new equipment will be installed over time.
"We're looking at gradual implementation," Isabell said.
While Isabell has received much acknowledgement for standing behind the technology bond, he said the real congratulations should go to the students of Clawson schools.
Clawson High School sophomore Jesse Rendell said she is excited to get new technology in the classroom. "I'm looking forward to having computers that work at a normal speed and having the same kind of technology that I have at my house," said Rendell, 16. "I know in college there are a lot more things on the computer so it will help us to know what to do before college."
Superintendent Cheryl Rogers said voters passing the technology bond turned a dream into reality. "It’s thrilling to think of the tremendous opportunity this presents for the teachers, students, and staff of our CPS learning community," Rogers said. "The effort to educate parents and community was a concerted one, and it paid off."
Library to continue services
Just months after finishing a complete renovation and reopening its doors to the public, Blair Memorial Library faced a budget shortfall that could have led it to closing in the summer months and cutting resources. The city of Clawson, already in a deficit, said it could no longer supplement the library budget without cutting city services.
The 0.3 mill tax increase voters passed Tuesday will fund the $100,000 the library needs to be self-sufficient.
Library Clerk Sandi Roath said she had no doubt it would pass. "I truly believe Clawson citizens have a real vision for the future," Roath said. "They really want to enhance their quality of life."
Library patrons such as Karla Stubblefield said it would be difficult living in a community without a library like Clawson's. She said the resources at Blair Memorial Library helped her earn a master's degree.
"I was a little worried ... but there a lot of people who support the library," Stubblefield said
Bill McAuliffe, 84, stops in the library almost every day to check out books and read the newspaper. He was one of the dedicated patrons who headed to the polls Tuesday to support his local library.
"I feel good; they needed the money," McAuliffe said.
Mark Stowers contributed to this report.