What are school officials hiding?

To the Editor: If Spring Lake school Superintendent Dennis Furton wants to bring the district's elementary schools into the 21st century, he might consider bringing himself into the 21st century by having open meetings.
Jan 18, 2013


Michigan has an Open Meetings Act. Its purpose is strengthening Michigan citizens' right to know what goes on in government by requiring public bodies to conduct nearly all business in open meetings (reference: mml.org/events/ppts/everything-meetings-open-meetingsact(Jeffers).pdf).

Mr. Furton was quoted in the Jan. 16 Grand Haven Tribune, saying that a recent meeting was closed to the public and the Tribune so that it could be held "without the outside noise of your coverage." This arrangement means that there is no point at which a citizen can know what's being talked about until a decision is made on a recommendation, which is then forwarded to the superintendent and the school board.

As if disregard for the OMA weren't enough, there is no mention of why the long process started. There are no problems or questions mentioned as reasons for "reimagining" Spring Lake elementary schools.

With no valid reason given and the OMA being ignored, one is left to speculate. What is really going on? Spring Lake schools are excellent institutions of learning. They are among the best in the state. The old school — so to speak — wisdom of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" could save the district money that otherwise would be spent on consultants, designers, architects and focus-group facilitators.

— John Fulton, Spring Lake


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