My wife and I have four children who all went through the Spring Lake School system. We are also both lifelong educators. I will be voting YES on 11/5/13 for the Spring Lake Schools Bond Proposal.
Regardless of what evaluation tool you select the Spring Lake School District rates very high.
The current Michigan school funding model does not provide extra funds for building maintenance – only for operational expenses. It is important to understand bond funds cannot be used for salaries, maintenance, supplies, or administrative costs.
Do understand that on your personal property tax bill there are two different school tax lines. One line is for 18 mills operating which you only pay if you own more than one house in the school district. The other line is school debt which is the part in which this millage deals. Of the eleven school districts near us in Ottawa County four will have higher school debt millage rates than Spring Lake will have after this bond is passed, four almost identical and only three lower.
The current Michigan School funding levels are the same as they were in 2006, and no one can say costs have not gone up since 2006. This problem is compounded by the fact that the SLSD has to use operational money to pay for necessary maintenance needs.
Both of the Spring Lake elementary schools are 60 years old. The buildings have old heating systems, old wiring, old plumbing, old roofs, and old windows which are all expensive to maintain and costs will just continue to escalate. A new elementary building will mean drastically reduced heating and maintenance costs. The decision to build one elementary school instead of two was based on the following two things: 1) it is very educationally sound to have all the elementary students in the same building; and 2) building one building instead of two buildings will provide significant savings both with the original capital investment and with maintenance costs in the years to come. It will mean up-to-date rooms, instructional materials and furniture. It will also mean the Spring Lake system will not be faced with major building costs for a long time to come.
Almost any educator will tell you the first few years in school are the most formative years in the process of educating children. This new building will provide our area children a great facility as they begin their education.
The Spring Lake Middle School was built 55 years ago in 1958. It is in need of some major maintenance improvements. These improvements are needed now, and if they are postponed they will just get more expensive and, in the interim, significant amounts of money will be needed to keep the building functional.
School building security is becoming a major issue and one which needs to be addressed at all the Spring Lake School buildings including the new high school. This proposal will address building security in all of the buildings.
We all know there are technical advances every day. Our Spring Lake students and teachers have to be provided updated technical equipment.
As for buses, the Spring Lake School fleet has 10 buses which are 15 years old or older with 200,000 miles on each one. The ten new buses, with a new bus garage, will save a significant amount of money with both maintenance and repair costs.
Finally, we come to the many new athletic fields and stadiums which are proposed as part of the bond. I have to say as a lifelong athlete and coach I question the real need for this much new athletic field expansion.
Our community and our current and future Spring Lake area children deserve the best quality education system we can provide. It is very important to also note in today’s society the people with the best jobs often have a choice as to where they want to live. The quality of the school system is a very big factor, if not the biggest factor, in determining where people purchase a home.
We have no children or grandchildren in the area and we live on the lake. We know our taxes will definitely go up. However, I will be voting YES for this millage proposal.