School issues dominate May election

It’s a big election year with many races — from state House to governor to Congress — but those will happen with primaries in August and the general election in November.
Alex Doty
Mar 21, 2014

In May, both the Grand Haven and Spring Lake school districts have ballot proposals for voters to decide on.

Here is a rundown of what is on the May 6 ballot:

Grand Haven Area Public Schools will ask voters for its general operating millage renewal of 18 mills against non-principal residences and other non-exempt property required for the district to receive its per-pupil foundation allowance.

The district also has two bond proposals.

Proposal 1 would generate about $36 million for:

• 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

Proposal 2, which is contingent on the approval of Proposal 1, would generate about $9.69 million for:

• 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, increased storage, ceiling replacement
• Improved traffic areas at Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School

Spring Lake Public Schools has two bond proposals on the ballot, but they aren’t contingent on passage of the other.

Proposal 1 would generate $49.8 million for the purpose of:

• Constructing additions to Holmes and Jeffers elementary schools and Spring Lake Middle School
• Partially remodeling several facilities
• Installing and equipping instructional technology for school facilities
• Purchasing school buses
• Constructing improved elementary school playgrounds

Proposal 2 is a $4.47 million proposal that would improve athletic facilities and fields at the middle school and high school.

Local municipal clerks say there could be a slight increase in turnout at the polls May 6 due to the bond proposals.

“Typically, school elections in May have a low turnout — 10 percent or so,” Grand Haven Township Clerk Sue Buitenhuis said. “That is typically when the non-homestead (renewal) is the only issue on the ballot.”

Grand Haven City Clerk Linda Browand also believes the bond proposals could bring more voters to the polls in May, although past elections involving solely school issues tend to have light turnouts.

“It is usually pretty low,” Browand said. “Usually, when it is a millage renewal, it is a low turnout.”


Say no to new taxes

Sorry, elections should only be allowed in November, having one in May is a waste of money and a strategy to get bond issues passed due to a low turnout.


One of the main reasons why Spring Lake Public Schools is not waiting until next November is because the School Bond Loan Fund will no longer be available. Simply put, if the same bond proposal was brought up in November rather than this May, it would cost taxpayers a lot more money if passed.

makes sense

Yea, sure Jason, same thing the car sales people tell you, "hurry buy now", and then 2 weeks later there's another "hurry buy now" campaign.

I bet we could save a lot more money by cutting out all the fluff.


First of all I'm not here to convince anyone of voting yes for the Spring Lake Bond Proposal. My goal is to provide information to voters in helping them decide if they want to vote "Yes" or "No". Here is a link where you can find more information about The School Bond Loan fund.

Although I agree there are certainly instances where people felt pressure into buying a car or buying furniture, because the particular sale is going to end, this is simply not the case in regard to the Spring Lake Bond Proposal.


Does this mean 10% of the voters assume all support 1 & 2 could generate $48M in additional taxes,sooo this means 90% don't care?


One would hope that more than 10% of the voters would take part in the election. There will be community presentations prior to the vote in regard to the Spring Lake Bond Proposal so voters will have the opportunity to voice their opinions or ask questions.

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