Transparency is necessary

Spring Lake school leaders don’t seem to want to talk much about a committee’s work on a proposal that could ultimately result in the closure of Jeffers Elementary School. That much is clear.
Jan 30, 2013


The committee meetings are closed to the public and media. The reasons for this vary, but essentially boil down to the fact that school leaders believe the committee needs to be allowed to do its work without disruption.

The committee will make a recommendation, and then the school board and administrators will evaluate the merits of the committee’s proposal on elementary school reconfiguration and decide how to proceed. This should all happen sometime in February.

If the proposal — which now reportedly centers on building a super-elementary school on the Holmes campus and shutting down Jeffers — gets the green light from school board members and administrators, residents would ultimately have to vote on a bond issue to build the new school.

It’s up to the voters, in the end, if the “Elementary Reimagined” is a go.

All fall and winter, this committee has been hashing and rehashing various options that would create the best elementary experience possible for Spring Lake students. It really is all very exciting. We congratulate the committee members on their hard work, and the end goal of increased student achievement.

The super-school proposal is preliminary. But in less than a month, the committee is expected to make its recommendation. It could all change between now and then, of course, but now is the time to let the light shine in.

Many parents and community members want to know more, and the community has the right to express their viewpoints on the proposals under consideration — and be heard.

Open community meetings should be hosted. Committee members and school officials should be honest and open about the possibilities. School officials should be a community partner with the media to share information with parents and residents alike, and take valuable community feedback to the committee for consideration.

Spring Lake Public Schools will face a long road ahead if this is the direction they choose to take, but it’s never too early to get the community’s support.

One lesson that can be learned from school districts across the state that have handled successful or failed bond proposals is this: Transparency is key.

Transparency in the process is crucial in building trust, and buy-in.

It’s time.

Why? Because ultimately it’s the community members who will choose to support — or not support — this venture.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.




what i hear is they want to close jeffers school only to build a new one next the present elementary, would they add on to the existing building, dont see much room, but to eliminate the play ground,


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