Handful hear GHAPS proposals

Just a handful of community members attended a school district-sponsored meeting at Robinson Elementary School on Thursday night to learn about upcoming bond proposals.
Krystle Wagner
Mar 14, 2014


Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said he wishes a few more residents would have attended the information meeting, but he’s hopeful the small attendance means they’ve reached people through previous meetings. He said the district has hosted about two-dozen meetings so far with service clubs, booster clubs, PTAs and residents.

Proposal 1 calls for a zero-mill tax increase because of some of the district’s previous debt falling off, Konarska said. The proposal would generate about $36 million throughout a 10-year plan.

The proposal includes:
• 1-to-1 technology devices
• Infrastructure improvements
• Desktop computer replacements
• Instructional technology replacements
• Phone system upgrade
• Equipment replacement – servers, media, copiers
• Updated security cameras
• Bus replacements
• Student transportation tracking system
• Roof replacements
• Asphalt replacement
• Student learning equipment
• Improved fire systems at Lakeshore Middle School and Griffin Elementary School
• Secure entrance systems

Konarska said Proposal 2 would be a “small bump up” — a 0.47-mill property tax hike — and it would generate about $9.69 million.

The proposal includes:
• Districtwide fencing
• Asbestos removal
• Equipment replacement – classroom tables, student desks, lockers, cafeteria tables
• Athletic improvements – seat replacement, turf replacement, floor refinishing, weight room addition
• Arts improvements – classroom space, increase storage, ceiling replacement
• Improved traffic areas at Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School

Proposal 2 is contingent on the passing of Proposal 1.

The owner of a home with a $100,000 taxable value would see an annual increase of $47 if the proposals are supported by district voters on May 6.

Konarska said the bond proposals would provide relief to the school district’s general fund and allow the district to focus that money on maintaining instructional funds.

Voters will also decide the fate of an 18-mill renewal for nonprincipal properties and other nonexempt property, and 6 mills on commercial properties. The annual renewal doesn’t impact the taxes on a homeowner’s principal residence.

The nonprincipal operating millage brings in more than $17.3 million for maintaining the district’s programs and services.

Doug Start, the Grand Haven district’s director of technology, said a committee spent more than 18 months looking at how they should move forward with technology. He said the committee looked at the “why” instead of focusing on what devices to consider.

The committee visited schools throughout the state to learn from their experiences with 1-to-1 technologies. Start said the technology would be the next step for the district.

“It will be another tool that will help our kids get to the next level,” he said.

Grand Haven Township resident Robert Arterburn asked when the changes for the music and athletic department at the high school would begin. Arterburn said he wonders whether or not his son, who is currently a sophomore, will get to enjoy the improvements.

Ted Rescorla, the district’s director of operations, explained the improvements would begin in the second or third year after the bond is passed.

Rescorla said the improvements would create storage for musical instruments because students currently use the hallways for that purpose. He also said the GHTV studio would be moved near the repurposed gym space, and the present studio would be repurposed for music space.

Amy Vantrepott asked how the proposals would impact the lockers at the district’s aquatic center.

“They’re a little rusty,” she said.

Rescorla said the proposals would allow the lockers to be built with PVC-style material to ward off corrosion from the pool’s chlorine.

The district will host another informational community meeting about the May bond proposals at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven.



maybe SL schools should look at how GH uses this money to MAINTAIN buildings already in use. Take a hint here.

Although I disagree that proposal 1 is 0 tax increase. You see, when debts are paid off, your tax burden would DECREASE, but they want to INCREASE them back up to current levels. So that BS is bogus.

As for proposal 2, who the heck needs $1M rastroturf on a middle school field??? please get over this crap.


Ted Rescorla is actually shared by both the Grand Haven and Spring Public School Districts so Spring Lake is able to tap into Ted's expertise since he has been with Grand Haven for many years.

When the Spring Lake Bond Committee met, I specifically asked Ted why it seemed that Grand Haven's facilities were in better shape then Spring Lake's. His response was that Spring Lake did not invest over the years to update their facilities like Grand Haven did. Over time Grand Haven has replaced such things as HVAC systems and windows in order to "keep up with the times."

Many of Spring Lake's facilities still have the original systems when the schools were initially built.

Thank you for your comment.

Barry Soetoro

Spring Lake returned the favor to Grand Haven when Westerburg shared his "expertise" on trimesters. Maybe Konarska can chime in on how much taxpayer money was wasted on that debacle.


Not sure on that one. I know Spring Lake still uses the Trimester system.


good answer, now someone is telling the truth


And btw, maybe more people would show up if the meetings were published by a local NEWSpaper (online) as a public service. But woefully they are only published as an afterthought and then the paper complains no one was there?? That the local rag for ya.

Harry Kovaire

These meeting are truly intended for supporters of the bond proposals and property tax increases.

Magic Mike

I remember reading a story back a few weeks ago and saw this at the end:

"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."

If that's not an advanced notice, I'm not sure what is.

Say no to new taxes

The lockers are a little rusty? How about buying some sandpaper and paint instead of replacing them? Education spending is out of control.


Spoken like someone that has no clue as to how and where the money comes from for the schools and how they spend it. Grand Haven does an incredible job stretching every dollar to the breaking point that they recieve. If they continue with the very good money management that they have had for years I will continue to support each and every proposal they come up with. The second they follow Spring Lakes money example I am done.

Barry Soetoro

Like trimesters?


What does Spring Lake's money management have to do with this? Don't take down another community in the interest of saving yours. Perhaps enlighten us with proof behind your claim rather than try to create turmoil in another system. All the communities should stand together if you want public education to be successful.


The purpose of school systems is to educate students,how does/do any of the above modifications help in this endaevor?


I think removing asbestos from Lakeshore MS should be considered important. That building was built in the 50s and still is riddled with asbestos, which needs to be monitored and tested every year ( which is not free). If we don't want to pay for new buildings, then we need to maintain and repair current buildings, I have not heard anyone say that they are putting turf at the middle school. It would be for future replacement of the HS turf. There are still desks in use from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I'd say we got our money's worth. I don't believe they are asking for anything frivolous and are being good stewards of the potential funds raised. Check out the the proposals for yourselves.

Jeff Beswick

I've reviewed the proposals and they do not provide for any artificial turf on any middle school field. The middle school athletics project is to replace the old seating at Lakeshore Middle School with new seating. The existing seats are very old and in poor repair.

Jeff Beswick

Using bond dollars for facilities, safety and security improvements allows GHAPS to focus its other (non-bond) resources on instructing students. If the District had to repair roofs and replace buses with general fund dollars, then less money would be available to educate students. These bond proposals allow GHAPS to keep money in our classrooms, instead of paying for facilities.


I totally agree on the need for maintenance and the need for bonds to do that. But don't chime 0 tax increase when the debt becomes paid off and they want more money. That is GH math for you. I'll vote for prop 1 only because it is maintenance, prop 2 can blow in the wind for all I care as it's just more frill for GH. Next thing you know, they will want to combine the school systems. lol


I like how "Proposal 2 is contingent on the passing of Proposal 1." So pretty much all or nothing.

Back to the Wall

That's not how I understand it.
What I'm seeing is:
#1 can pass, OR
#1 and #2 can pass.

#2 cannot pass by itself
i.e. #2 passing is contingent on #1 passing.


Timing of the vote is critical.

Jeff Beswick

Correct - #1 can pass, or #1 & #2 can pass, but #2 can't pass without #1. The reason is that if #1 fails, in which case some or all of the expenses for #1 must be paid out of the District's general fund, then the District's general fund (which also pays teachers & for critical instructional needs) wouldn't be able to support the additional maintenance expenses (for additional building spaces and access drives) that proposal #2 would have created.


How many other taxes are proposed in the area,bike paths,fire equip,library, etc etc ,all start with it won't cost any more then add additional proposals,zero is good?


and pass the ketchup please !!!!


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