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GRCC building millage fails, 57%-43% | News

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GRCC building millage fails, 57%-43%

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Voters in five counties rejected a millage proposal by Grand Rapids Community College for a $98.6 million bond for building renovations and new equipment.

With 100% of precincts reporting in Kent County, the vote was 57% against the proposal, 43% for it.

GRCC administrators blame low voter turnout for the defeat their measure.

The majority of voters approved the measure in the city of Grand Rapids,  but the millage request was defeated overwhelmingly in other parts of Kent County.  The vote in Allegan, Ottawa, Newaygo and Barry counties was similar to the Kent County vote.

School leaders said they needed the tax increase to repair and renovate crumbling buildings and update technology.  Now they say they will look for other ways to meet those pressing needs.

"I'm sure with some of the projects our donors will be interested in helping out," says Dr. Steven Ender, GRCC's president.  "We won't solve this problem through just tuition increases.  We might be able to chip away at it a little bit more than we have if we raise tuition more than what we want to.  It will be a combination of strategies to address the most pressing needs the institution has."

Voters defeated two separate millage requests from GRCC in 2007.  When they lost in May, the school tried again in August and lost again. Dr. Ender says he does not know if the school will try that strategy again. He says they have not decided on "Plan B."


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