GHAPS bond issue

As she waited to pick up her daughter from Lakeshore Middle School on Wednesday, Wendy Elzinga said the traffic surrounding the campus can be a “little challenging.”
Krystle Wagner
Feb 27, 2014


The Grand Haven Township woman said the current setup isn’t the most ideal as students often have to cross the street to get to their parents.

Parents who pick up their Lakeshore students now park along Seventh Street or use the parking lot near Cutler Street.

Traffic at Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School are among some of the items that would be addressed with the passage of a pair of bond proposals on the May 6 ballot for voters in the Grand Haven school district, school officials say.

Proposal 1 calls for a zero-tax increase, but it would generate about $36 million over the next 10 years. It would pay for 1-to-1 technology, infrastructure improvements, technology replacements, updated security cameras, bus replacements and student learning equipment, as well as roof and asphalt replacements.

Proposal 2 would increase the district’s debt levy by 0.47 mill, and it would generate about $9.69 million. The funding would include districtwide fencing, asbestos removal, improved traffic areas at the high school and Lakeshore Middle School, as well as athletic and arts improvements.

Proposal 2 is contingent on voters approving Proposal 1.

The owner of a home with a $100,000 taxable value would see a $47 increase in their annual property tax bill if the proposals are supported.

The district is also seeking the annual renewal of the nonprincipal residence levy of 18 mills on the May ballot.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said they are working with the City of Grand Haven on a plan that would allow the parent drop-off and pick-up area along the Cutler Street side of the school to eliminate the need for students to cross the road. The traffic improvements are estimated to cost about $378,000.

“Further action will need to be taken by the city, along with the passage of the bond proposal, to move this plan forward,” Konarska said.

Elzinga, who has three children, said the school has tried different things throughout the years to alleviate the problem, but she likes the proposed solution.

“I’m all for anything that gets the kids closer to the school,” she said.

The changes at the high school campus are expected to cost about $1.2 million.

“A conceptual drawing of the road with a new parking area behind the baseball field has been developed,” Konarska said. “Specific details for changes in traffic flow for students, parents and buses are still being developed.”

Proposal 2 would also increase the square footage for art and athletic departments. Konarska said the district has been looking at the best way to repurpose and expand those departments as student participation has increased.

The improvements at the high school and Lakeshore Middle School would create additional classroom space, adding secure instrument and theater storage. The band room would increase from 1,895 square feet to 3,104 square feet. Uniform storage space would grow to 430 square feet, while the existing 108 square feet would be repurposed.

The bond would also fund the building of a 1,204-square-foot scene shop storage.

The White Pines Middle School Performing Arts Facility will receive updates. It was built in the 1960s, and the original seating and ceiling tiles need to be repaired.

The high school’s weight and wrestling rooms would be repurposed, and a new fitness/weight room would be built off the existing auxiliary gym, which would be used for instruction and athletics.

The district’s GHTV television studio at the high school would also move into a proposed 1,376-square-foot space, while the existing 1,100 square feet would be repurposed into music instructional space.

Buccaneer Stadium at Lakeshore Middle School would receive seat replacements. The bond would pay for synthetic turf and maintenance, and refinishing the gym floor at Grand Haven High School.

Since the bond proposal is a 10-year plan, Konarska said the district is including projects that would need to be addressed at some point during that time span.

Konarska said they feel it’s important that the community understands the bond proposals are planned to sustain the district’s needs over the next decade.

“In addition, we packaged the proposal to minimize the impact on our taxpayers, while maximizing the investment in educational facilities and programs,” he said.

Community informational meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at Robinson Elementary School; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at Loutit District Library. The district will also tape a special edition of its “Issues and Answers” program focused on the bond proposals to air on GHTV Channel 98.




Parent are concerned about students have to cross the road to get to their parents ? Why not let your child use the bus system, the buses drive right up the bus pickup directly in front of the school or just let the student walk home like we did, many of us walked 8 to 14 blocks in any weather.


Easy there, those rash and heartless sentiments could be misconstrued as child abuse.


Many students at Lakeshore can no longer use the bus due to "Safe Routes to School". If the student lives within a mile, the district does not provide bus service. Although I do not disagree with this, I do disagree with residents not shoveling their sidewalks. It seems people wait for the city's sidewalk plow to remove the snow. This is done only if they have time. Its still the responsibility of homeowners to keep the sidewalks clear. I have seen students walking in the streets many times this winter due to impassable sidewalks.
This is unacceptable. Its an accident waiting to happen.

Vast Right Wing...

No to any new taxes!

This school district has lied to us too many times to be trusted. Remember when the "new" high school was built - we don't need a new pool or stadium and what was needed just a year or two after the school was built!

Maybe if we didn't have so many administrators and assistants making large salary's and counterproductive decisions GHAPS could be managed efficiently.


every time we turn around new money is needed for this and that, I know that tech is outdated within months of being installed but this is a snowball effect I see this as never ending raid on our pockets, for the athletics why do we need another big time football fields, go to the parents of the children and ask ( pay for play).how about ALL ghps make concessions in benefits and start paying there fair share and the same for its retirees we the people have limited incomes and do not earn anywhere near the wages and benefits of you folks,,come back to reality


By law, there are two pots of money for schools. They have to be kept separate; this is not optional. It's the result of 1994's Proposal A.

School districts must use state money -- awarded based on the number of students attending, and a per-pupil figure that mostly serves as a proxy for how wealthy an area is -- to pay for salaries, books, copies, curriculum development, electricity, water, and the day-to-day costs of operating a school district. These are only the costs to educate students with whatever physical resources (buildings, infrastructure, etc.) already exist in the school district.

The second pot of money comes directly from voters, in the form of property tax millage bonds. These must be used for capital improvements. That means improving buildings and facilities, buying big-ticket items, investing in improved technology, etc. With some small exceptions, this money CANNOT be used for the day-to-day operations stuff. Likewise, districts are not allowed to use per-pupil state funding to pay for building improvements, with narrow exceptions.

So, even if I agreed with your thesis that school employees are overcompensated (and I don't), it has nothing to do with the bond issue. This also explains why a school district can be in the hypothetical position of laying off teachers while asking for money for a new school building. That's the legacy of Proposal A.


I completely agree that there are entirely too many parents picking their kids up when they could just as easily walk home or ride a bus...and then either parking where they aren't supposed to or complaining about the traffic. As a parent who has to provide transportation because we are school of choice, it is infuriating to watch a parent park where they know they aren't supposed to and hinder the whole parent pick routine AND then follow them 3 blocks to their home. When I was in middle school in Arkansas, I had to walk a mile one way every day. It doesn't matter how many improvements that are made, there are still going to be the parents who screw it up and do nothing but complain.


I'm impressed with the proposed plans. It certainly looks like they've done their homework and are trying to minimize the impact on all of taxpayers. GHAPS is truly one of the best...thankful for all they do for our children. Not many can compare! Keep up the great work!




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