Mom supports SL bond

To the Editor: I am a mother of three, my oldest being age 24 and my youngest age 4. Quite the spread I know, but with two decades of experience in between. The Spring Lake Bond 2013 is on the ballot November 5 and I am definitely voting Yes.
Oct 22, 2013


When my oldest was attending Jeffers Elementary, Spring Lake was a Class C school district and seeing very modest growth.  By the time she was attending High School, Spring Lake jumped to a Class B school district and the area continued to grow. If the school walls weren’t made of bricks, I think you could have seen them bulge.

My youngest age 4, attends class in a “portable” because there is no room for her class to be in the main building. For those of you who have never been in a “portable”, it is basically just a double wide trailer. There are several portables in the Spring Lake School District. Safety for my children and all their classmates is a major concern for me.  The portables offer only “basic” protection from the elements. That’s it. If any emergency arises, they have to be moved to the main building. Imagine trying to quickly file 3 to 5 year olds from one room to another much less from one building to another.

Spring Lake is still growing. My son’s class is one of the largest, if not the largest, Kindergarten class to enter the school system. The parking lots, drop-off and pick-up areas were made for when the school had about 150 kids. There are now close to 400 that attend Jeffers Elementary alone. Besides the age factor of the buildings, the design and layout are showing their shortcomings. Imagine if you stayed in the same dorm room, or apartment that you had when you were young, you married and eventually had kids, or had to take care of your aging parents, but still lived in the same dorm or apartment. That lack of space and functionality is where our elementary schools dwell. And the population projections are still trending in positive growth.

I am all for ensuring our kids educational future. I believe Spring Lake will continue to grow. Based on these two factors alone require advancements to our school system. I have only touched on 2 topics as they hit close to home for me. There are other issues that the Bond addresses for the buildings and transportation that are also important. Please consider all the issues and educate yourself on the facts of the Bond before casting your vote.

A mom for our kids education

— Michelle Dewey, Spring Lake




Great information and thoughts. I am a YES too!


I have been in this district for a long time and I don't believe Spring Lake was a Class C school twenty years ago. We have always been a Class B School.

Keep in mind this isn't just about the elementary schools. If you are just looking at the elementary school then you are selling yourself short.

Elementary School - 27.7 Million
Demolition of the elementary schools = 1 Million
Purchase of land = $200,000
Technology = $6.1 Million (Unfortunately long-term replenishment will be looked at later according to Dennis Furton which means more money)
Intermediate/Middle School Upgrades = 13.8 Million
Athletic Field Upgrade = 7.4 Million
Maintenance Facility/Busses = 2.8 Million

If this was just about the elementary schools it would pass with flying colors. Unfortunately the board/administration has gone for it all instead of looking at need vs. want.

It won't be 30 years until the next proposal plus the village/township at some point will have their own bond proposals.


Im very sorry that the GSRP is being held in the portable. That is the only place to hold it. The other portable has the autistic children in it. Spring Lake schools have never been Class C. They have always been Class B. So if I understand you correct. You rather send your 3-5 year to a school that have over 1000 kids in it? Pick up and drop off are only as bad as you make it be. Have you ever spoken to a teacher at Jeffers or Holmes about what they think of the buildings and how if effects their teaching? You pointed out that the kindergarten class is the biggest. If you combine both the school its going to be twice as big and have twice the amount of classrooms. The Kindergarten has this year was not the biggest. Are you willing to pick up the tab for the next 30 years? Your children will not be attending school in Spring Lake? And from the sounds of it, your oldest will be paying for the bond to. I suggest you talk to a teacher or two. Ask them what they want and then ask them if they have been bullied into saying they want the bond to pass. Unless of course you are a planted letter in the paper by Dennis Furton. The teachers have been waiting for these letter like we were promised would be in the paper.


So is your take that the students in the portables are expendable? It is ok for their safety to be at risk? And that's just the way it is going to be and I should be ok with that? Even better yet, I can't imagine what actions will be taken against the school heaven forbid there is an emergency and you have to move autistic children quickly.

I am not sure exactly when Spring Lake class sizes boomed but based on the population growth [1970 - 8,013; 1980 - 9,588; 1990 - 10,751; 2000 - 13,140; 2005 - 14,058; NOTE these numbers are Township #s] you can extrapolate the %'s in the population history (approx 8% of any area population is school age children k-12 - in year 2000 Spring Lake had about 1900) and see that Spring Lake is double the size from 1970. Jeffers and Holmes were built in the 1960s.

And I have spoken with many teachers and I actually play sports with some of them.

I think some of the issues that people have are the unknowns. None of the micro details have been hammered out as some are speculating. My husband has been to a few of the meetings that were held even the Bond was mentioned. We saw the #s and issues between 3 different building proposals - he has knowledge & background in construction & engineering and also helps with Habitat for Humanity on similar subjects. With the input from those meetings, it was felt best to move forward with combining Holmes and Jeffers as it makes the most sense business wise and economically.

I came from a very large school on the east side of the state that maintained a family feel - my class was over 700 in high school my elementary class had about 350; one wing had K,4-6 the other wing had 1-3 but under one roof. I have no problem with believing the staff and students will take be able to handle the transition as I have seen it with my alma mater; currently 1 High School, 1 Jr High, 1 Elementary; evolved from 1 High School, 2 Jr Highs, and 3 Elementaries.

I am very happy to sacrifice a Starbucks cup of coffee a month to pay for the bond as is my oldest will be when she moves back - thank you for asking.

Many of your comments are pure speculation and tainted with negativity - such as the planted letter comment. Frankly, I wrote the letter because of the viciousness and untruths I have heard from a few people such as yourself. Most people, I am happy to say are very open to listening and many, I was surprised, did not even know about the Bond.
I don't understand why you are so angry in your posts and are opposed to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.


Again the doubt doesn't come from just the elementary portion of the bond which is 27 million along with another million to demolish the current elementary schools. This is only half of the bond. I believe you would have a lot less "flack" if it was just the elementary school building we were talking about.

Of course one "Super" building would be more cost effective. You do lose the ability however of students to walk to school which requires more bussing. I know last year there were only two pick-up points in the Village of Spring Lake for high school students. I wonder how many pick-up spots there will be for elementary students? Let's face it, there will be hardly any students walking or biking to the proposed new location. I certainly wouldn't want any students crossing Leonard.

Portables are not ideal but have been used for a long time.
Everytime Spring Lake has stopped using them, it seems a few years later we are using them again. There is no way of knowing if and when portables will be needed.

Let's face it, no school is completely safe from those who wish to do harm. I don't like saying it but if someone wants to do something they will figure it out. I can only rely on my faith to pray that my kids remain safe. No system will keep individuals from hurting others.

It is easy to say just throw out your $35 plus dollars (I could do it) but we are still paying for the high school building. We will have other bond issues in the future through the school as well as with the village and township.

Also remember we are operating under a deficit. Every year teachers/staff not adminstators wonder if they will have a job next year. I'm more concerned about this issue then a bond proposal.


If we do not have enough room for our students and have to have them in a portable, maybe we shouldnt have so many school of choice kids taking up the space. Not only in the class room, but on the bus too. Both of my daughters friends are school of choice so I am not against that. But when there is a problem that is affecting the kids that live in the district there should be something done. However there are other options but no one will explore them. Oh by the way the food is terrible too!


@Sallyjane54: Yes, I have talked to teachers at both locations via public forums, etc. And I have talked to students. The vast majority are in favor of the Bond and what it offers. This post, and others I have read from you, lead me to this question/suggestion .... could you possibily find a more reasonable way to state your opinion as opposed to wild speculation and creation of rumors that have no basis in fact? Either that, or find a program to give you some help?


Wow this is the most one sided, misguided letter I have ever read. I was in attendance at Spring Lake Schools during the same time as Ms. Dewey's oldest child. I would like to clear up a couple of facts for Ms. Dewey as her memory has apparently slipped.

1. Spring Lake was last a Class C school in 1963...NEVER during the time frame Ms. Dewey quoted was SL ever a Class C school.

2. Again, I was in school slightly before this woman's daughter...yes during the late 90s it would be fair to say that the walls were bulging...however that's why SL built a new HS and moved grade 5 to the intermediate!

3. Ms. Dewey states that there are many portables in the SL district. Last I knew, there was 1 at Holmes and Jeffers each and 2 at the IS/MS...much better than in 1998 (pre new HS) when there were 11 at the (then Jr/Sr High), 5 at Jeffers and (I believe) 3 at Holmes...4 portables district wide does not translate to many in my book.

4. Parking lots...these have been re-designed MANY times since the days of "150 kids." I know during my days at Jeffers we had 3 sections of each grade 1-6..yes 6 grades at Jeffers (plus PPI, DK, and K) and parking was a little congested but my no means a huge issue

I appreciate the upgrades that are indeed necessary for SL and I am all for improving the learning of students...however I will by no means support this Cadillac plan of 60 million dollars. This is ridiculous and completely unneeded. This proposal should have been broken up into multiple chunks...not an all or nothing shot. It bothers me a great deal that Mr. Furton is playing Washington (and Michigan) politics with our students at SL to get the "extras" that HE wants...(even his staff thinks it's over the top, although he won't let them say that). Stand up and vote NO on this and make Mr. Furton and his crazy BoE go back to the drawing boards to present something logical and appropriate for our community!


Thank you Ohreally, beautifully said :)


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