LAKE COUNTY — Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, and Lake County residents are encouraged to get out and vote in the Baldwin Community Schools bond election.

Voting will take place at each township hall and will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"We would like to see everyone get out and vote. You need to have your voice heard," Lake County Clerk Patti Pacola said. "The clerk's office will be open from 7 a.m. until the election is over for the public to come and watch the election results."

The bond proposal is asking for an increase of 2 mills in the school district millage, which will bring it from 1.24 to 3.24 mills. Other schools in the area range from 3.26 to 7.50 mills.

BCS Superintendent, Richard Heitmeyer said the building which houses the junior and senior high students, built in the 1950's, is incredibly crowded and in need of updates and constant repairs.

"We have very small classroom sizes, in addition to infrastructure problems," he said. "We want to create an environment for our students to learn in with larger classrooms that are technologically up to date."

School administrators looked at the possibility of renovating the buildings, rebuilding just the junior high section and building a completely new building, Heitmeyer said.

"Looking at what they have now and what the needs are, they determined the best option, financially speaking, was to build a completely new building for classrooms while keeping the current gymnasium and band room," he said. "With a 2-mill increase in the millage rate, we still will be one of the lowest in the area and the debt will be paid off in 20 years."

In addition to the new junior/senior high building, the bond will fund renovations at the elementary school and upgrades in the athletic facilities, technology and security and parking lots.

"One thing we would like the public to know is that the bond monies can not be used for salary increases or other things like that," Heitmeyer said. "It can only be spent on what the bond proposal states - buildings and renovations. "

With the increase, homeowners with an assessed value of $100,000 ($50,000 taxable value) can expect an average increase of around $1.92 per week on their property taxes.

For more information about the bond proposal, visit the school website at baldwin.k12.mi.us, call the school business office at (231) 745-4791 or email Heitmeyer at rheitmeyer@bcsdmi.com.