Show up and get informed

The Grand Haven and Spring Lake school districts are in the final stages of holding public informational meetings pertaining to their respective bond proposals before voters on May 6.
Apr 3, 2014

Both school systems have done an admirable job of getting out in front of people in an attempt to answer questions and properly inform area residents.

Unfortunately, not enough voters have taken advantage of these opportunities, yet find it appropriate to poke holes in the proposals from afar.

We find this approach to be careless and irresponsible. This is the educational future of our children at stake here, yet only a handful can find the time to make it to a meeting.

This editorial is not intended to persuade you to vote one way or the other; it only suggests you attend a public meeting and get informed. If you have questions, that is the place to get them answered — not at the coffee shop, the hair salon or over a cup of coffee at church.

Chances are, if you ask three people the same question, you’ll get three different answers. And, as is usually the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of those answers.

Recently, Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska led an informational meeting at Robinson Elementary School to answer questions about the bond proposals. Five people showed up for it. That’s right — five.

If that’s the case, everyone better have a very good handle on exactly what is being asked. If not, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty 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.



Was this printed in the tribune, hard copy and online ?


So when is the next meeting?

Cheryl Welch

Thank you for your inquiry and interest. We've been running a variety of stories to promote and cover the meetings. They're all (including dates for upcoming public sessions for SL) available here:


Below are the Spring Lake Bond Proposal Meetings

Thursday, April 17 @ 6:30 - Spring Lake District Library
Tuesday, April 22 @ 6:30 - Crockery Township Hall
Sunday, April 27 @ 4:00 - Spring Lake High School Media Center


Also, the website below has a lot of information in regard to the Spring Lake Bond Proposal that can assist voters in helping them make their decision.


The reason I think people fail to show up is because people with differing views are often treated with disrespect. I was at one of the Spring Lake meetings (at the middle school) a couple of months ago. I went primarily to listen and did not say anything myself. Anytime someone said something that challenged the board's thinking some of the board members and a school teacher in the audience acted like contrary opinions were not welcome.

I did not have a preconceived notion coming in to that meeting but when I left, it felt like the pro-bond group was most interested in bullying and shutting down contrary opinion instead of letting the community have a true voice at the table.

If you want to know why people do not participate more in these types of meetings, take a close listen to the way the public is treated during those meetings. I did not have a dog in the fight, but I really felt bad for the people who were willing to make their voice known ... only to be bullied and ridiculed.


I am sorry to hear about what happened previously. I was not on the bond committee last time but I can assure you that community members will not be treated that way this time. The idea behind this bond proposal, which is different from the previous one, is to not only explain/educate those in attendance but to also listen to what the community members have to say. The desire is for this to be a partnership. Certainly there will be "sticking" points and not everyone will agree but it will be important that everyone is heard and shown the respect they deserve.

Thank you so much for your comments and bring these concerns out in the open.


Just to clarify ... it happened during this "bond cycle". It was not about the last proposal. It was the middle-school event talking about splitting up bond proposal (it was the meeting that included at least one Crockery resident as a presenter ... by the way she was kind and reasonable in her approach).

Anytime a member of the audience suggested that things be paired back or slowed down board members and at least on of the self-identified teachers in the audience did things like sighing and making other audible and disrespectful comments/noises. Again, this was NOT a personal offense on my part. I did not say anything during the meeting because I was simply there to listen and get facts.

I hope for the best for our community and our great educational system, but I am certainly disheartened by the attitude displayed by the board and our educators in the meeting I attended.

In the end it appears that they are only willing to trim less than 10% off of the original proposal. Unfortunately that seems a bit arrogant. (comparing the combination of the two current proposals with last year's proposal).

In any case Jason, thanks for your response and service during this process. I am not at all trying to be critical of you or others who are serving ... I was just disappointed in the way the board and the teacher seemed to want to bully those with a different opinion. It is no wonder that kids feel the need to bully others when this culture is allowed between adults in the community.

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