School bond highlighted in annual address

Hamtramck Schools Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed (second from right) and her administrators at the recent State of the District presentation.


By Charles Sercombe
The Hamtramck Public School District had nothing but good news to report.
School officials, along with the public, gathered last Thursday afternoon at the Hamtramck High School Community Center for the annual State of the District address.
This was the first such presentation under Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed, who was appointed to her position last year.
She has enjoyed a successful year, to say the least.
The district is still boasting of a budget surplus, which is at $12.2 million. The district’s Chief Financial Officer, Sherry Lynem, pointed out that financial picture is in sharp contrast compared to 10 years ago, when the district was in a financial crisis and had a $5 million budget deficit.
That was due in part to drastic cuts made by then Gov. Rick Snyder, who was combating a statewide economic recession.
The district managed to climb out of that financial hole by slashing the budget, and also due to teachers and staff members taking deep salary cuts.
Today, the financial picture keeps getting better. Gov. Gretchen Witmer increased per pupil funding by the state by $240. However, Hamtramck receives the lowest amount of state aid, at $8,111 per pupil.
That will continue to increase in the 2020-21 school year by another $225 per pupil.
The district has about 3,500 students – a number that has continued to increase in recent years.
There is one more huge financial goal the district is about to embark on: Asking Hamtramck voters to approve a 7-mill bond, to pay for extensive renovations to the district’s existing buildings, and to actually construct a new school building on the grounds of Kosciuszko Middle School.
The bond, if approved in a special May 5 election, would continue for about 30 years. It has been estimated by the school board that the cost to the average homeowner would equal an extra $200-$300 per year.
If that sounds like an impossible task to get voter approval for, remember several years ago that voters OK’d a bond to begin needed renovations at the district’s buildings, which had long been neglected in maintenance.
Superintendent Ahmed made it a point that Michigan is one of 12 states where the state government does not supply districts with funding to make building repairs.
She said that creates an “equity gap” for districts, and puts many districts at a disadvantage – especially those in low-income cities where property values are depressed.
The proposed three-story school building would allow the district to remove the portable classrooms on the school’s site, which were purchased several years ago in used condition, and were supposed to be temporary.
Several of the district’s administrators also made presentations about the strides their departments are making.
The district’s special needs program, in particular, has been greatly expanded.
Feb. 28, 2020

5 Responses to School bond highlighted in annual address

  1. Nasr Hussain

    February 28, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    “The bond, if approved in a special May 5 election, would continue for 30 years. It has been estimated by the school board that the cost to the average homeowner would equal an extra $200-$300 per year”

    “$200-$300 per house for 30 years”

    Hamtramck residents just approved $7.2 million over 10 years millage, a few years ago, to do these repairs, What happened to these funds?

    & The district also has $12.2 million surplus in their budget which can also be used for building and maintenance.

    Asking voters to approve this exorbitant bond issue is just insane.

    Take into consideration that the glut of students the school is experiencing currenlty is a result of the war in Yemen which is winding down. Once the war stops, There will be less need for space and we will be stuck paying for an underused building for 30 years.

  2. Reader

    February 29, 2020 at 11:51 am

    The Sinking Fund Millage approved a few years ago is not the same as this bond proposal — once again Nasr Hussain has put his ignorance on full display. However, even a broken clock can be right twice a day, and the overall conclusion reached by Nasr is correct. This plan is insane.

  3. Nasr Hussain

    February 29, 2020 at 1:06 pm


    The Sinking Fund Millage’s main purpose is to maintain, renovate,and repair the school district facilities:

  4. Fatema Hossain

    February 29, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Vote NO on the 30-mill bond on May 5th!

    Property taxes are high enough.

    This millage vote needs the public to come out and turn it down.

  5. Resident

    March 1, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks @Nasr. Appreciate your post.

    School district is also getting money about 3 mills worth from Wayne county RESA which it can use anyway it wishes. So, there is money available for all the needed repairs. No bond needed.

    Even after the influx of new students, the school district is still well below its 2002 level. Thus, space should be available for additional students within existing schools, and there is NO NEED for new school.


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