Inland Lakes Schools Bond Set to Be on Ballot in May

Print More

INDIAN RIVER, Mich. — Safe, warm and dry. These three words encapsulate the latest Inland Lakes Schools bond proposal.

Following an unsuccessful $29.5 million bond proposal vote in May 2022, Inland Lakes Schools District is asking voters to pass a $15.1 million bond for improvements to both the elementary and secondary school. Registered voters in the school district will vote on the proposal on May 7, 2024.

“Our (secondary) building was built in 1962, so we have some old things that we need to update,” said Inland Lakes Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Fairbanks.

Fairbanks has been with Inland Lakes since 2014, working her way up from dean of students to superintendent, a position she has held since July 2022 after former Superintendent Brad Jacobs stepped down.

When Fairbanks took over as superintendent, she and the school board organized four meetings with the community. The public was shown presentations on the schools’ needs, and the community was tasked with anonymously giving input on what they felt the new proposal should address.

“One thing we heard loud and clear was that the term was too long,” Fairbanks said. “Instead of asking for a 30-year commitment, the board decided on a 15-year commitment.”

Highlighted projects for both schools include new security camera systems, new classroom technology, upgraded heating systems, interior and exterior renovations, and two new buses.

Additionally, select roofs would be replaced and renovation at the secondary school would create a proper career and technical education space.

“With the technology push that we’re trying to get, it should take away any stressors that any student might have about getting a higher education or doing hands-on skills and trades,” said secondary school Principal Lewis Robinson. “It’ll open up doors for anyone who comes through our doors.”

If the bond passes, two important projects for the elementary school are scheduled to be completed: improvement to drainage and paving for both parking lots and new playground equipment.

After severe weather passes through, the elementary school parking lots fill with massive amounts of water due to poor drainage. This creates issues for both students and faculty making their way into the building.

“Our kids will get out in puddles in the parking lot if they have to get out on the driver’s side,” said elementary school Principal Jennifer Perreault. “It’s terrible.”

Perreault expressed that while new playground equipment may not help keep students warm or dry, it will help keep them safe.

“Some of our playground equipment is currently broken,” Perreault said. “It’ll go towards the safety of the students in the long run. . . all of these things will affect the students right away.”

According to Fairbanks, the planned construction and renovations for both schools would take three years to complete.

For voters concerned about an increase in tax rates, the district has stressed that the bond proposal will not increase the current rate and will be an extension of the school’s current debt millage levy of 2.12.

The district has also emphasized that the bond funds cannot be used to hire new teachers or cover repair and maintenance expenses, as Michigan law requires an audit to ensure that funds are being properly used.

For more information regarding the bond proposal, visit Inland Lake’s website at

Anyone with additional questions may call Fairbanks at (231) 238-6868.

Comments are closed.