School plans presented in Crockery

More than 30 community members listened intently and voiced their opinions about the future of Spring Lake schools on Tuesday.
Krystle Wagner
Jan 15, 2014

teve Overacker, secretary of the Spring Lake school board and a member of a special committee, told residents gathered at the Crockery Township Hall that the committee is looking for feedback as they form a bond proposal recommendation for the school board.

"We need to listen to you," he told the audience.

The school board will decide whether or not to move forward with a bond proposal when it meets Jan. 20. The proposal is expected to be put before voters in May.

Residents looked over handouts as committee members presented three options addressing needs at Holmes and Jeffers elementary schools.

Option A expands both elementary schools through small additions and renovations. It would cost about $15 million. Some of the items the schools would receive would include new classrooms, cafeterias, secure entrances and heating-and-cooling systems, and the removal of portable buildings.

Option B would cost about $29 million, and it would provide larger renovations and add classrooms. Each school would receive a new gym, cafeteria, technology infrastructure, roof and some furniture.

Option C would construct two new elementary schools for about $35 million.

All three of the scenarios for the district’s athletics proposal would keep Grabinski Field in the village. The options range from $3.5 million to $6.3 million to upgrade the track, fields and team rooms, as well as add restrooms at the high school.

A proposal for the intermediate/middle school, high school and buses would cost about $22.9 million. It would include 1-to-1 technology, interactive workstations for staff, additional parking, a new bus loop, removal of portable classrooms, ceiling and lighting upgrades, new library/media center, kitchen, locker rooms, and 10 new buses.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

toosense

Thank you Grand Haven Tribune for writing an article about the SLPS Bond Proposal that is currently under consideration. The article is factual and there was no attempt to dramatize the discussions from the meeting. I can say this because I was in attendance at that meeting. I left with the impression that the Board of Education and the Administration of SLPS is trying very hard to listen to the taxpayers and members of the community.

stripes

I too was at the meeting and I do feel that they tried to answer questions the best they could. However there were a couple of questions I feel they "beeted around the bush" at. Now I have also heard a rumor and it would be wonderful if someone could clear up this rumor before May. At the meeting Mr. Furton stated there will be a sinking fund that is kept for maintenance on the buildings. I get that and understand that. But where is the money coming from for this sinking bond? I heard there will be another proposal in the future for this "sinking fund". And there seemed to be a lot of "we don't know that right now" at the meeting. When I go to vote, I want to know exact details on what I am voting for right down to the penny. Also, another question asked was about why our buildings are in that bad of shape,and how did they get to that point? Why wasn't maintenance done to keep them up. Mr. Furton replied he honestly didn't know. So...who is responsible for that and now why will it cost us tax payers money for poor decisions. As a tax payer, I just want to know where my money is going, how it is used, when will there be problems again, having to pass another bond and how will this impact my child's future.

winston

Two things: the sinking fund was explained by the board member as something that would be put on the ballot in 7-10 years. It's part of the plan to avoid some of the current issues that they have. I heard Furton say that the buildings were at the level they are because of two things: age & lack of investment. For what it's worth. And, I agree give me details before May!

stripes

Winston, the sinking fund was mentioned, but it wont be available for another 7 years. I do not recall him stating that it will be on the ballot in the future at the meeting. Also the lack of investment was not mentioned either. Like I mentioned, I feel there were questions the citizens asked but were dodged. I do not have a problem voting yes on things, but give me all the information. So who is responsible for the poor investments or who made the decisions? Are we going to run into this again because on a new school there were poor investments? Thank you for informing what was said at other meetings.

YZZRR

Is there a position of Chief Cost Containment Officer or something like that in the school system? Is there an organized effort to reduce costs in an organized measured way within the SLPS? I have not heard nor seen anything from the Schools that details this type of effort and I think if it is brought out that it is indeed ongoing and results driven, the voters will be swayed more positively than presenting "want lists".

Jason

That is a great question that I think would be best answered by our Director of Operations. The number is 616-846-5500 X3708

Jason

First of all I think it is great that we can have these conversations. There were committee members last night at our meeting that even mentioned the discussions that were happening on the Grand Haven website so as a current community representative on the committee, I want you all to know I take these comments seriously.

When we first started our committee work back in December I asked our Director of Maintenance why the Spring Lake School District Buildings are in the shape that they currently are? He stated simply that the District, throughout the years, has not invested in the upkeep of the buildings. Now that doesn't mean they aren't operational it just means that things weren't done to help and improve the longevitiy of the buildings. Needless to say that dissapoints me.

I am in no way trying to point a finger but that obviously falls on current and past administrations and current and past school boards. Obviously the current administration, school board, and new bond committee are trying to rectify the situation.

The "Sinking Fund" is something that can be used down the road to keep us from getting into this predicament again. It was mentioned somewhere in the next 7 to 10 years this could be an option. This idea needs to be explored further and no specific timetable or significant discussion has taken place. The intent of brining it up is to make the community aware that this could be an option.

I also have encouraged the administration and school board to develop a "Master Plan" for our schools just as a company would do. What are our needs in 1 year, what are our needs in 5 years, what are our needs in 10, 15, 20, 25, and so on. I also stated that if such a plan currently exists then it needs to be shared with the community.

If the district takes the time to do this then the community will understand what the needs will be down the road. Then there will be no surprises like the initial bond proposal was because you would have been aware based on the "Master Plan."

I hope this helps and again I will check back to see if I can help out with any more questions.

stripes

Jason, yes that helps and all makes sense. You explained it better n this then at the meeting. I am not against the school as some people think because I voice my opinion and ask questions. Is what I am against of the organization of all of this, the questions that aren't answered all the way when asked and I heard a lot of "we don't know that yet" Jason, you mention a master plan for the school, so do we have one? Because you are right this is the stuff the community should know about. And the problem is the doesn't understand the needs when we get half of the information. So when it comes to my child's school, my taxes I want to know. And if we pass a bond this time around, we need to do it right because the way I look at it the last bond was just a waste of my money. If I knew it was just a band aid, I would have probably said no.

Jason

I will have to check to see if there is some sort of "Master Plan". I personally have not seen one. I thought it was mentioned there was but I would need to follow up.

toosense

For clarity, as it pertains to the ongoing upkeep of the facilities of Spring Lake: Mr. Furton acknowledged at the meeting that the district has not adequately invested in the facilities of the school. What he failed to mention is that it was not for lack of attention or lack of desire, it was for lack of funds. It was presented at the meeting that the Administration and the Board of Education are contemplating a Sinking Fund in the future so this doesn't happen again. So we have a Superintendent that has accepted responsibility for the past and has a plan to correct in the future. I accept that and I choose to look forward.

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