Mason Public School Bond Proposal vote nearing

The Mason Times
By Nadia Lorencz

Superintendent of Mason Public Schools, Ron Drzewicki has been promoting the school district’s bond proposal that Mason residents will vote on May 3.

Some of the needs for the bond are a concern with security, a need for safer entrances at all Mason public schools, relieving overcrowding and updated technology.

The bond is a $79.8 million proposal that would focus on the largest issue at hand, overcrowding.

A sign in a Mason resident's front yard supporting the bond proposal.

A sign in a Mason resident’s front yard supporting the bond proposal.

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School Board approves $80 million bond request

By Jake Atnip
The Mason Times

The Mason School Board unanimously approved an $80 million bond request on Dec. 14. The proposal will go to the Michigan Department of Treasury on Jan. 7 and, if approved, will go to voters in May.

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Bond Proposal outline

The proposal includes $79,845,000 in bonds over a series of disbursements from 2016-2024. The redevelopment plan is separated into three, three-year periods in which the board hopes to renovate all five local public schools and create a new school for fourth and fifth graders.

The current tax rate is 3.70 mills. This proposal would increase the millage rate to approximately 6.85, nearly doubling the current rate. A 1 millage increase would cost the owner of a house that has a market value of $200,000 about $100 a year in taxes. For that same citizen, this proposal would cost approximately $325 that year. This cost will be added to current taxes.This millage increase would take place on Dec. 1, 2016, if the proposal passes.

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Mason’s orchestras provide solutions for music program budget cuts

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

With funding to schools’ music programs being cut all around the country, Mason continues to help not only children in being able to play music, but also adults, even while managing full-time jobs.

The Mason Orchestral Society includes two main ensembles: the Mason Philharmonic, for middle school and high school students, and the Mason Symphony, for adults of all ages.

Many of the children in the philharmonic attend schools that do not have full music programs. “My high school doesn’t have a string section, so it’s good to practice with people who play string instruments,” said Amelia Mills, who attends Mason High School. “It’s a good way to connect with people from different high schools.”

Sebastian Liu, an eighth-grader at Okemos Middle School, said that although his school has a music program, he is happy to be part of the Mason Orchestral Society instead. “My school music is easy, here I get a challenge. And I like being the only violist.”

The Orchestral Society is a part of Mason that is meant for fun and making connections with others that have similar interests, but the fact that it has been maintained has great effect on the American society as a whole. Budget cuts on schools art and music programs make being part of a classical symphony increasingly difficult.

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Dansville gathers for community center grand opening

dansville main roomBy Terri Powys
The Mason Times

Families and members of Dansville’s community gathered last week for the unveiling of the Dansville community center. What was formerly the Dansville Methodist church has been renovated into a multi-purpose building with space for a variety of activities.

One of the most important functions of the community center is to give children a place to gather after school, whether to do homework or to spend time with friends. “The kids in town don’t really have a place to go and spend time after they get done with school. We want them to use this center as a resource for studying and just for hanging out, “ says community member and volunteer Deana Seng. Dansville’s community center includes a Coffee Time hour for adults and workers in need of a morning coffee spot. Starting during the month of November, Coffee Time runs 7-9:30 am every Wednesday.

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Mason Public Schools announce artistic endeavors

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Mason High School fosters artistic development between students on abstract platforms, Mason City Council member Marlon Brown said.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is the first production at Mason High School since “All in the Timing” in November.

Scheduled for May 7, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m., “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will be performed in the Mason High School Auditorium.
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Sesquicentennial ceremony program lineup

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Marlon Brown discuses the program for the Mason Sesquicentennial Anniversary Ceremony scheduled for March 9 at 6 p.m.

Brown plans to introduce the Mason 150 Sesquicentennial Anniversary Committee to begin the celebration.

After introductions, the Fire Department and 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Company B Color Guard will perform.
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Essay contest gives back to Mason Public Schools

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Winners of the Mason College Club’s eighth grade essay contest will be announced at the March 9 sesquicentennial celebration. City Councilman Marlon Brown said he would present winners with a certificate bearing the city’s sesquicentennial seal.

Mason Councilman Marlon Brown and Mason College Club President Cheryl Lariviere discuss the essay contest and logistics in celebrating the eighth graders.

Mason Councilman Marlon Brown and Mason College Club President Cheryl Lariviere discuss the essay contest and logistics in celebrating the eighth graders.

The essay contest, held for Mason Middle School eighth graders, was hosted by Mason College Club and Scott Shattuck, eighth grade history teacher.

Students were asked to write a two-page prompt regarding the history of Mason streets named after families.

The club choose three winners and one honorable mention from more than 8 submissions.

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Good Morning, Mason

By Shane Stockwell
The Mason Times

The city of Mason had one of its most successful turnouts at “Good Morning, Mason” October 30, said Kathy Morse, co-owner of Mason Today. This event was created for local businesses to network and help build the community bond between companies. The agenda included: Mason Area Chamber, Ingham County Public Safety, Mason Area Schools, and many other topics.

“Good Morning, Mason meets six times a year and provides an opportunity for local business owners and workers to get to meet one another and inform each other on new ideas or business opportunities,” said Doug Klein, executive director of Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
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Counting on an increase in revenue

By Emily Hummel
Mason Times

With a overall trend of decreased enrollment in Michigan public schools, count day

Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools

Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools (photo was courtesy of Ron Drzewicki)

considered one of the most critical days of the year by Michigan educators, has gone much better than in recent years in Mason, which has seen increased enrollment.

Count day is when students attending each school within a district are counted and the number is reported to the state. From these reports, the state determines how much money to give to each school district and can mean a difference of several thousand dollars.

On this day attendance in school is stressed to parents, and some schools even give incentives to their students to encourage maximum attendance. Mason schools inform parents and trust them to understand the importance of the day.

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Building Twenty-One Reopens Skatepark, supplying opportunities for teens

By Ben Stram
The Mason Times
Workers at the arena

Some of the rails

More ramps
One of the biggest ramps
Almost a year ago an old run-down skate church and bike church were taken over by Building Twenty-One and the transformation impacted many.
With help from professional BMX rider Cory Wiergowski, renovations advanced and word spread.
That transformation was completed when the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors cut the ribbon Wednesday, Oct. 14, officially reopening the indoor skate park for students ages 8 and up. Continue reading