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Portage Schools OK Large Bond Proposal

John McNeill

Voters in the Portage School District will consider a large bond issue in August. School Board trustees put the $175-million request on the ballot Monday, May 10.

If it's approved, Portage Superintendent Mark Bielang says the bond won't raise tax bills. That's because an older bond is expiring.

"We're fortunate to be in a very good financial situation in the district. And this is huge that you can do this amount of work with no increase to the existing debt levy. So, we're very fortunate to be in that position."

The money would be used to replace or upgrade aging elementary buildings. Bielang says it’s the third and final phase of a long-range plan to rebuild the district’s schools.

"We're looking at replacing five of our oldest buildings in the district, also renovating Moorsbridge Elementary School, to meet the educational specifications that were prepared by district staff and our consultants."

The plan would replace Angling Road, Amberly, Haverhill, Woodland elementary schools as well as Portage Central Elementary.

Portage School Board President Randy VanAntwerp says it's an investment in the future of Portage.

"It's going to build a stronger community here. It's going to maintain property values and young families move to places with good schools."

If the bond is approved, the projects would be completed over the next decade. The district originally planned to put the issue on the ballot in August 2020 but that was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.