Elementary school plans to be revealed tonight

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:13 PM

The committee will present its recommendation for Holmes and Jeffers elementary schools during the Spring Lake Public Schools Board of Education meeting at the Intermediate/Middle School Media Center. It will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Since its formation in the fall, the committee has discussed potential reconfigurations for the district's two aging elementary buildings.

In January, committee member Michelle Prince updated parents at the Jeffers Parent Organization with the two options the committee was considering at that time.

The first option would leave the schools as they are, but shift the grades to create an upper elementary school and a lower elementary school. The second option would involve building a larger school near Holmes to house students in kindergarten through fifth grade and shut down Jeffers.

When Prince updated the parents, she said discussions had shifted each time the committee met.

“It has become a think tank,” she said at the time.

Some committee members have since toured Coopersville East Elementary School and Georgetown Elementary School to see how they handled a reconfiguration.

When the group toured Georgetown Elementary School, which is in the Hudsonville school district, they focused on building layout and which grades were in the building, said the school’s principal, Theresa Reagan. Georgetown houses students in kindergarten through fifth grade, but they are separated into wings, she explained.

Reagan said they also talked about curriculum initiatives and how the principals collaborate because the district has several elementary schools.

“I really encouraged them to look at districts similar in size because we’re so big,” she said.

Coopersville East Principal Marie DeGroot declined to comment on the committee’s visit.

The committee continued discussions in January.

At the last school board meeting, some parents spoke out about their concerns for the lack of community involvement in the recommendation process.

Although board members did not respond to the parents, Superintendent Dennis Furton addressed their concerns in his report to the board. If the committee proposes building another school, Furton said the board would learn more about it and hold community discussions because it could be part of a potential bond campaign.

“I don’t anticipate it as an action item in March,” Furton said at the time.

Furton has since met with the committee and heard their recommendations. When asked about the committee’s recommendations and his meeting with committee members, he said he was “not going to get into it.”

“Let them do their work,” the superintendent added.

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