Questions on SL bond issue

To the Editor: Some questions to consider before you vote:
Oct 16, 2013

1. Can you justify spending money on bricks, mortar, parking lots, architects fees, and football field turf when necessary repairs, updates for safety and technology could be made for a lower cost? 

2.  Are you in favor of increasing Spring Lake Public Schools debt from $27,575,000 for the High School to $59.8 million for much more than is currently needed?

3.  Are you comfortable with SL Public Schools General Fund being operated at a deficit of $565,000 in 2013-14?

4.  Do you like the fact taxes, since 1995, have doubled under Proposition A and have been used for salaries and benefits instead of a new Middle School math program and a desirable Middle School foreign language option?

5. Are you in favor of tearing down two existing neighborhood elementary schools because they need new roofs, mechanical systems and updated technology  and replacing them with one large elementary school with two principals?

6. Are you aware that in 1997, a bond issue for a new Spring Lake High School passed by only 116 votes, 3% of those voting? Are you aware that the Nov. 5 ballot information includes the following, “ The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances” ?

7.  Do you like being described as “uneducated and uninformed” if you recognize the high quality of education currently offered in SL Public Schools by teachers, involved parents and an affluent community and yet question the fiscal responsibility behind the November ballot proposal?   
                         
Can you afford not to vote absentee by Nov. 4 or in Spring Lake on Nov. 5? Every vote will count!

Information obtained from taxpayer supported SLPS website, Bond Proposal materials, raw data from SLPS Chief Financial Officer, Ottawa County records and SLPS sponsored meetings.   

Ron and Sylvia Ruscett

Bill and Connie Widdis

Spring Lake

Comments

kookwan

Have they checked into having two principals in one building and how it effects Title 1?

Highlander

Is this plan the best? Who knows. I have friends in SL that think it's a great thing. I have friends that wonder and have concerns. People who have not done their homework and who have not studied the plan and the costs and how it will impact them- I would definitively label as "uneducated". But this is the way we vote these days, which is too bad.

3 & #4: these points would have everything to do with how this state has decided to fund and "underfund" schools in Michigan. Last week it was announced that another 1/3 of a $Billion will be lost to tax breaks and cuts, which will have a direct impact on schools. Expect cuts next year. GHAPS & SLPS cannot continue to offer quality if this continues to occur without accountability for those making the cuts. The Proposal A funding scheme is broken. Can GH & SL schools continue to squeeze "excellence" from a budget while operating in a deficit. Next year will be interesting; if you own a home or have a school-aged child, you should be paying attention, and be concerned.

Salaries & benefits: schools are "people heavy" which is where the larger costs are, rather than expenses in machines, marketing, lobbying and advertising. The costs attributed to salaries for administrators, teachers, & staff have taken cuts over the last few years.

#6: imagine GH & SL schools in the old facilities in 2013. I'd imagine that investing in our future and in our children has a price. Choosing not to invest will have an even bigger cost. Homeowners enjoy nice real estate values in the tri-cities when comparing sq footage to neighboring communities, due to great, attractive schools and a fabulous place to live. Without investing in schools, this indirect benefit could change.

kookwan

I own a home and am paying attention and I AM CONCERNED. We passed the vote for a new school High School that was much needed. Some of my concerns are: the property they want to build the new school on has not been checked by the DEQ; are the existing schools about to fall down or can they be renovated from the inside out like a school in Muskegon has done without adding more taxes? (3 elementary schools and a middle school as old or older than our schools) Do we really need a big sports complex? and if YES...then let's get rid of the existing Hickman Field, Wanroy field and tennis courts and build a new elementary school there. Natural progression. Grades 1-4 in that building, cross the street to 6 -8 and then out to the new High School for the rest of your high school education. I know traffic will be the next thing addressed. Really, check out the congestion out at the high school all day/night long; add in a new school, with little ones with all the parents that drop/pick up their children....hmmmmmmmmmm.
I do agree to INVEST, but let's renovate for less money, put it on the existing loan and not leave it to our KIDS to pay for this in the end.

LakerAlum87

I would love to have everything in the proposal. Do you know how many things I want for my own personal use. I have to take a step back at times and ask myself what is needed vs. what I want. The crazy thing about this whole bond process is that it originally started with what to do with the elementary schools and then it just snowballed into wants vs. needs. Well who doesn't want the best? I just know in the next 30 years this will not be the last time my taxes will be raised.

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