Farmington Schools voters approve bond by wide margin

Farmington Public Schools officials are nothing but grateful after voters on Tuesday showed overwhelming support for the district’s $98 million capital bond request.

With all precincts reporting, more than 69 percent favored the measure, which will address 10 years’ worth of critical and deferred projects.

The request received its highest level of support in Farmington Hills Precinct 17, an area north of Grand River between Drake and Halsted Roads, where nearly 82 percent voted yes. Most other Farmington/Hills neighborhoods recorded 65-35 to 70-30 splits between yes and no votes.

Dr. Bob Herrera
Superintendent Dr. Bob Herrera spoke during a January 22 bond presentation about the bond request and how Michigan school funding impacts Farmington Schools. 

“Speaking on behalf of the school community, staff, and Board of Education, we really appreciate the community’s support on this,” Superintendent Dr. Bob Herrera said. “This will allow us to focus more time and energy on the teaching and learning environment in the coming years. We thank everyone for understanding that.”

Herrera said the district “truly appreciates” support from community groups and individuals who on their own campaigned for the bond. Among those was Say Yes to Kids, a committee that designed and distributed lawn signs, pushed social media campaigns, and worked with FPS parent-teacher groups to get out the “yes” vote.

The effort hit home for Katie Rusak, whose children are in grades 1, 3, and 5 at Hillside Elementary School. A committee member, she would have voted yes no matter what.

“We’ve been residents for 13 years, and regardless of whether we have children in this district, my husband I would support the bond,” she said. “It’s good for the community, it’s good for our re-sale value, and our students benefit.”

Rusak said she learned a lot at a bond forum, when Herrera explained how Michigan school funding hits districts like Farmington. During his presentations, he said that because enrollment declines happen across the district, officials can’t down-size enough to make up for the losses in per pupil funding.

“I want my children and my neighbors’ children to have the facilities they deserve,” Rusak said. “I want them and their teachers to be safe.”

Herrera said that bond-related work will likely not start for 6-8 months, as staff and officials begin the process of selling bonds and hiring a construction management firm. Work on critical priorities identified in a 2019 facilities study could begin next year.