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Live Blog: Bloomfield School Bond Passes With 61 Percent of Vote

Supporters of the school bond gather to celebrate the passage and look forward; in Bloomfield Hills, Dul and McClure win commission seats.

Patch has been reporting live on today's voting all day, and has . Stay tuned for reaction on the outcome of the election.

10:45 p.m.: More than 200 people gathered at Ultimate Soccer in Pontiac for the One Bloomfield United celebration after the school bond proposal passed with 61 percent of the vote. Schools Superintendent Rob Glass said a few words, and Brandon Kaufman, spokesman for OBU, said, "The result of this vote clearly shows that the trust between the district and the community has been restored, and with the new school leadership it will remain."

One Bloomfield United is the grassroots community group formed last year that supports the Bloomfield Hills Schools' initiative to merge Andover and Lahser high schools on one campus.

9:33 p.m.: With all precincts reporting, the school bond proposal passed by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin. In the Bloomfield Hills City Commission race, Michael Dul and Sarah McClure each captured more than 25 percent of the vote to win seats.

8:45 p.m.: Parents at the Bloomfield Hills Middle School concert at Andover High School reacted to news of the bond passage with relief. “This is the end of eight years of contentiousness," said Beth Sinclair, track coach for Andover High School and the parent of an eighth-grader who will be affected by the school consolidation.

Caryn Bittker, who has two daughters at West Hills Middle School, said the vote is a relief. “We would have been personally better off if it passed," Bittker said.  "If not, we would have been considering private high schools for the girls in middle school.”

7:30 p.m.: The requirements of civic duty and motherhood met at an intersection for May Jia of Bloomfield Hills, 30 minutes before the polls closed at  as the mother of two sons in Bloomfield Hills schools voted at Precinct No. 5 before walking about 50 yards to see the West Hills Middle School 6-8 grade band and orchestra spring concert.

"I've always been a 'yes' vote," said Jia, who has an eighth-grader and a third-grader at Lone Pine Elementary School. "I prefer smaller schools, but I think the boys will benefit from new technology and with the expected population decrease in the future, it's a no brainer ... I'm optimistic this will pass."

7 p.m.: Polls close in an hour. Any last minute tips to get voters out?

6:25 p.m.: Precincts 22 and 5 reported a "dinner rush" for those eager to cast ballots after a "slow start" to the day. Jim Healy at Precinct No. 5 at  said that 142 had cast their ballots by the dinner hour – and that turnout was on the light side, based on his perspective of working as a poll worker for the past five years.

Precinct No. 22, at the just nearby, had reported 164 voters.

4:45 p.m.: Joined by her son and daughter as well as a host of others from Cub Scout Pack 1039 based in West Bloomfield, Gwen Schultz-Ofiara ruminated on her "yes" vote, filed earlier this morning at l.

"I think we'll lose people to Birmingham schools if this doesn't pass and I've already heard talk of that," said Schultz-Ofiara, who workers as a local real estate broker. "We've been 'yes' voters since the beginning of the campaign ... it's crucial to our home values and the quality of our education, because those are tied hand-in-hand."

Cub Scouts cheered at the corner of Lone Pine and Middlebelt roads as school let out with plans to do so until dinner time tonight. 

3:15 p.m.: West Bloomfield Township Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy said that as of Monday night, 907 absentee ballots have been returned out of 1,008 mailed out. There are no problems at the polls keeping voters from voting, she said, at any of West Bloomfield's four precincts.

2:30 p.m.: This slick, glossy mailer (see attached PDF) received by many residents in the district yesterday has rankled some ardent supporters of the school bond millage.

Sure, it hits all the points that bond opponents have argued for months:

  • Make repairs and maintain buildings with already-approved taxpayer dollars
  • Accruing more debt with a budget deficit looming is bad business.
  • The preference to preserving small schools.

But what's upsetting people is who's doing the talking. The mailer is sponsored by the Michigan Chapter of Americans for Prosperity and authorized by Bloomfield Vice, an organization started by students that are opposed to the ballot proposal. Americans for Prosperity is a national organization tied to the Tea Party movement and funded by Kansas billionaires Charles and David Koch.

"It's just unfortunate that billionaires from out of state that know nothing about the local issue can dump money into this election at the last minute," said bond supporter Charles Gaba as he waved a 'Yes' sign at motorists driving by Way Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.

George Blichar, a spokesperson for the AFP-Michigan, made no apologies and said it's wrong to view the mailer as an intrusion.

"Our focus has always been about limited government and we want to get involved in things where we see waste involved," he said Tuesday from the organization's office in Lansing. "Right now the district is basically asking for more, more, more and we're only informing people on what's going on."

Blichar said the office has received calls from residents about the mailer and said the majority of them were very concerned about today's vote.

The cost of the mailer is unknown at this time.

1:40 p.m.: Bloomfield Township Clerk Jan Roncelli projects today's turnout at about 30 percent. Roughly 32 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the Feb. 28 presidential primary. 

"I'm hoping for more than 30 percent," she said. "With this issue being so much more relevent to the local community you would hope more people turnout."

12:30 p.m.: Sun continues to shine on this picture-perfect day for an election. Partly sunny skies to continue throughout the day, with temperatures approaching 70-72 degrees this afternoon. Looks like you'll need another excuse if you're not going to vote.

12:10 p.m.: The Bloomfield Township Clerk's office reports 3,555 absentee ballots have been returned so far. The office distributed 4,062.

11:15 a.m.: The Bloomfield Hills City Clerk's office reports more than 400 absentee ballots have been returned so far today. Nearly 600 in all were sent out to voters.

9:20 a.m.: Seventy-two voters have already cast ballots at Precinct 1 at the Bloomfield Hills Department of Public Safety, officials said. Three candidates for city commission: Mayor Pro-Tem Sarah McClure, Commissioner Connie Salloum and first-time candidate John Monaghan are in the parking lot greeting voters.

7:10 a.m.: Eight voters had already gone through at Precinct 4, where six poll workers, including Mike Shea, precinct supervisor, who has worked at "about 30 elections."

6:58 a.m.: Precinct 4 at Model High School in Bloomfield Township wasn't open yet, but Roy Fanning was there inquiring about why the American flag wasn't flying. "I'm here to make sure the American flag gets put up on Election Day," the Bloomfield Township resident said. By 7:10 a.m., the flag was still not flying, but Fanning has raised the question.

Did you vote? Was your precinct busy? What voter were you and what time? Let us know in comments.

Linda P May 09, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Kids always want the latest toy don't they Patty...that's why they have parents to tell them No when warranted. That is why I have voted NO.
Linda P May 09, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I think it should be a large group home site.
J Arch May 09, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Actually Chris, now that the decision has been made, I believe the period of greatest distraction is now over. The effort by the administration to engage the community on this issue was substantial, composed not only of overseeing the school design process, but also conducting the transition planning necessary to be ready to consolidate the high schools. Moving forward is now about execution. With certainty in place, focus on education can be restored. That being said, I have supreme confidence that the administration and the staff will maintain their high level of engagement with the community to assure that the promises made during the process are lived up to. The District is once again in position to do great things for its kids. Jeff Wagner
Linda P May 10, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Detroit just built a state of the art K through 8 school for 28 million bucks including media centers, labs, auditoriums, outdoor spaces .....looks like the Motor City beat the Bloomfields on efficiently spent dollars. No doubt the yes crowd will find something to criticize about saving money!!
J Arch May 10, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Hi Linda, totally an apples to oranges comparison. The project you cite is for a building with 1/3 the square footage and is an elementary/middle school, not a high school. J. Wagner

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