Handful hear GHAPS proposals

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:06 PM

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.


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