Community input sought

Voters in the Spring Lake school district will soon have three opportunities to have their opinions heard regarding the future of the district’s facilities.
Krystle Wagner
Jan 6, 2014

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, a committee will present a trio of scenarios and look for community feedback before making a recommendation to the district’s Board of Education for a bond proposal to appear on the May ballot. The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. at Spring Lake Middle School.

The next sessions will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, at Spring Lake High School; and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Crockery Township Hall.

Since voters rejected a nearly $60 million bond proposal in November 2013, the district has worked with EPIC-MRA, a Lansing-based survey research firm, to analyze voter turnout results. The survey asked voters specific questions about the recent bond and what they would like to see in a future proposal.

Spring Lake school board President Paul Aldridge, who is a member of the special committee, said the group has narrowed the choices down to three scenarios after reviewing the survey data and the district’s needs.

Aldridge said it's now vitally important to obtain the community’s input on the subject.

“The community really does own the schools," he said. "We need their input.”

Spring Lake Superintendent Dennis Furton said through planning for the next bond campaign, committee discussions evolved into finding solutions to solve elementary facility needs. He said the committee wrestled with the issues, which aren’t easy to solve because each solution has advantages and disadvantages for the community and district.

“You’re always compromising on one aspect,” Furton said.

Based on survey results, Furton said the district might not have adequately communicated the district’s “substantial” facility needs prior to last fall's vote. The survey found that eight in 10 residents gave a positive rating for the condition of the schools, facilities and grounds.

“Frankly, that’s not the case,” Furton said.

District buildings underwent a facility analysis that determined the district should address heating systems, transportation, roofing, security and space.

The district is moving forward with a bond campaign at this time for the ability to join the School Bond Loan Fund, which smooths debt for school districts.

During the upcoming community sessions, Furton said residents will have the chance to ask questions and give immediate feedback.

Furton said the committee will meet again to look at the data before making a recommendation to the school board on Jan. 16. The school board is expected to make a decision on the bond proposal during a regular meeting at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 20 at Spring Lake Intermediate/Middle School's Media Center.



Here we go again. Instead of listening to the voice of the people ... they are going ahead to present their "three scenarios". Listening to the public should come before all of the slick presentations. A limited phone survey is NOT necessarily the voice of the public.


Given the economic conditions most households are trying to cope with these days, I hardly think that a new football stadium with artificial turf is "vitally important" to our children's education.

Also, the Spring Lake schools are currently taxing me for a water park that I can't even swim in unless I pay an additional annual "membership fee" (which I cannot afford) ...that was another "vitally important" item for our children's education that was pushed down our throats.

Like I tell my own kids who want things "all the other kids have"...


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