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Incumbents hold on to seats; millage fails

Cedar Springs Public Schools Board President Joe Marckini and trustee Jeff Gust held on to their seats in Tuesday’s election, with challenger Misti Bowser coming in a close third. Gust received 868 votes (41 percent); Marckini received 671 (32 percent); and Bowser received 576 votes (27 percent).
The sinking fund millage for repairs was defeated with 684 NO votes to 629 YES votes—a difference of only 55 votes.
School officials say that they are looking at $2 million in cuts this next year, and that the passage of the millage would have helped keep cuts away from students. Superintendent Ron McDermed said that the vote puts them back at square one. “I think the advisory committee came up with as conservative of a plan as they could,” he said. “The question now is, how do we continue to maintain repairs while facing state cuts? They keep taking more and more away.”
McDermed explained that the board’s thinking in approving the proposal was “do we want to cut things for kids? The answer was no. But we’ll move forward now the best we can, and keep kids in focus as much as we can.”
He said that if the millage had been approved, they were looking at spending $500,000 a year on repairs and maintenance to infrastructure and roads. That money will now have to come out of the general fund. Cedar Springs is unique as school districts go, because they have miles of road through the campus, and don’t sit on a public street.
Noting the low turnout at the polls, McDermed said they need to have a conversation with the community about the proposal to see if this result is what they really wanted. “I’d like to listen to people who were opposed and find out what they have to say. If it looks like this result is definitely what the majority wishes, we’ll abide by what they decide.”
If it looks like the majority of people want the millage, but just didn’t turn out to vote or didn’t understand what they were voting on, or just plain didn’t know about it, there is the possibility it could be brought back to the ballot in November.

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13 Responses to “Incumbents hold on to seats; millage fails”

  1. Valiket says:

    Why is it that when a millage fails the board thinks that people mistakenly voted the wrong way or didn`t understand what they were voting on so will have to be brouht up for a vote again but if the millage passes there is no suggestion that people voted mistakenly the wrong way and no suggestion that we vote again to see if the millage should be repealed, funny isn`t it? I for one knew exactly how I was voting.
    (Cedar springs schools are unique in that they have a lot of roads on campus)who was the mental heavy weight that designed this layout anyway with total disregard for the costs of maintenance and upkeep? I have lived in this community for over sixty years and have watched the school system grow and sprawl over an area almost as large as the city that supports it with total disregard for the costs down the road when things start to go into disrepair so don`t act surprised when people turn your request for more money down.

    As a small business owner it really upsets me when everyone working at the school makes more money a year than I do working half as many hours a year and it is people like myself that are paying their bloated wages and benefits so don`t tell the public that you don`t want to cut education of the children when you have a vast area that could receive cuts other than the childrens education.

    Busing for sports to other counties comes to mind, astroturf? in high school? is this really necessary? Are these expenses necessary for education? I don`t think so, we didn`t have this when I want to school and yes I did go to the Cedar springs school system.
    How about eliminating all of the bells and whistles and get back to what school is supposed to be and that would be graduating students that can read, write and have a good understanding of math with these skills as grown ups they will be able to survive lifes trials and tribulations.

  2. Trisha says:

    I personally voted NO becasue I can’t afford to pay anymore on my mortgage right now. I am spending 500 dollars a month to go to work in just gas and I just can’t spend more right now. I know the kids don’t deserve to have more cuts but like the other person who commented why not make cuts on busing to sports and administrative staff (not the teachers). That football stadium we had to have a few years ago isn’t something we needed. The old field was just fine. It’s still there and still gets used. We could have spent that millage money on something better than a football stadium. Budget cuts suck but everyone is struggling right now and everyone has to think about their family and how they are going to support them. Maybe next year but not right now.

  3. Charlie Towns says:

    I think that sometimes the folks at the school live in a vacuum. They become so focus on what would be nice for the school they forget about the fact that some people are already catching it in the throat on property taxes. This is often the case with highly specialized professions such as education, the military, law enforcement ect ect…Alot of these specialized tax payer funded organizations end up subscribing to the mentality that their cause is the most important and that the tax payer should give them money no matter what. That money that they get is NOT FREE. Alot of the board members have good jobs and make decent money (which there is nothing wrong with I am glad for them). I don’t think they or alot of the others at the school relate to the problems a large segment of the community are facing facial wise right now.

  4. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued….
    The last time I checked the speed limit is 25 MPH (maybe lower but I am not sure) on school grounds. The roads do not need to be perfect when you are going that slow. Drive around the pot holes! I wish that someone from a lower income bracket would get on the school board so that segment of the population could be represented. The football field is a perfect example of something we NEVER needed. I cannot for the life of me understand why that millage passed or why it was even put forth in the first place? Skinner field is and was not perfect, but it was functional and served its purpose well. We did not need a new facility! The funny thing is I remember when they built the new field at the same time they were talking about cutting the class week to 4 days because of lack of funds.

  5. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued…
    They should have ask for a millage to shore up that problem NOT the field. I sure do not want to pay to maintain that Monstrosity while a perfectly good and cheaper to maintain (no synthetic turf) skinner field sits vacant. I hope people are starting to wake up and vote on these things with the tax bill in mind, and it looks like they have. If we would have had this a few years back we would not have that costly stadium built and we would still be using the perfectly fine skinner field. To CS public schools: You need money for books, more teachers to decrease student to teacher ratio something like that come talk to me and I will see if I can afford more on my taxes. You need money for more of your little frill projects I got nothing for you.

  6. small town girl says:

    To Mr. Towns: Communities get the school district they want. If you are not happy with yours, maybe you should visit and find out what is actually going on there. To say that the people at the school do not understand what kinds of problems the community is facing, think again. ALL of those ‘problems’ show up in the children you send to school, and it is the school board, the administration, and the teachers and support staff who work with them and keep them somehow in one piece, while trying to meet the demands of the state and federal government, and doing it all with less of everything.

    The football field was a different time. That was then – this is now. Would you deny medical care to someone who was sick now, because they were healthy ten years ago? You didn’t buy something back when times were good that you would never consider buying now?

  7. Charlie Towns says:

    Small town girl, I can see you are passionate about education in Cedar Springs and I respect that. The people like you that put forth this millage are also passionate and care a great deal about our kids. I do not question their love for what they do. I think that they care about it so much that they have tunnel vision and are not seeing the big picture. It is true that I am not on the ground in Cedar Springs. I try to keep up with what is going on back there through the City website, the Post Website and various other sources as I feel it is my responsibility to stay as informed as I can. The monthly escrow tax payment on my property is as much as the payment I make to the bank (it doubles my house payment). Every month I send money home to my family in Michigan because times are so tuff and jobs to scarce in Michigan right now.

  8. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued
    When I left for Germany I did not bring my vehicle because a relative needed it and could not afford to buy one of their own. I continued to make the payment and told them they could drive it. For alot of my time here I have not had a car because I could not afford to buy another vehicle and send money home every month. I had a beater for a while until that broke and it was not until I got promoted that I have been able to afford a reliable car. There are members of my family who have lost their house or will lose their house because of foreclosures. The only reason I continued on with my job and did not come home is that I could not afford to support my family back home if I did not stay on. This is why I am so critical of the school wanting money for things that do not directly support a good education. Perhaps major repairs on the buildings I could go with, but fixing pot holes in the roads and replacing synthetic turf, no I am sorry. I am barely making it as it is.

  9. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued
    Having said all this I am not special and I am not alone in doing things like this. People all across Cedar have very similar stories. You say: “ALL of those ‘problems’ show up in the children you send to school, and it is the school board, the administration, and the teachers and support staff who work with them and keep them somehow in one piece, while trying to meet the demands of the state and federal government, and doing it all with less of everything.” I say to that you are right in the sense that it is teachers and people who are making the difference in the school, PEOPLE not roads not the Football stadiums the PEOPLE are. The teachers and support staff in many cases make more than the average person in Cedar does, which is ok I am fine with that. The job they do is very, very important and I do not mind them being well paid (in comparison to the people who pay their salary) to do it.

  10. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued
    With that said however, we are paying them better than most of us make, so they intern must be innovative with new ways of doing things with less money. I know that they have been ask to do this before (and probably will be ask again) and they are responding to the challenge very well. If you look all across federal and state governments the workers in every sector are being ask to do the same, our employees at CSPS are in the same boat. So far they appear to be doing well, and I am grateful for their dedication. The several times I have visited the schools since I left home it appears to be far better than when I went to Cedar. I would tell them to keep up the good work and I appreciate them.

  11. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued
    It is not roads, buildings or football turf that makes for a great education; it is the Parents at home, the teachers in the schools and the Student wanting to learn. I know this because I have worked with some well-educated soldiers from other countries who cannot hold a candle to our facility’s in Cedar, but yet they were well educated. I knew a soldier from Nigeria who used to run 6 miles (no bus to pick him up) one way to school every day. He was a very smart and well educated soldier. He was educated in a one room school house. He ran in bare feet on a dirt road all the way there and back. They did not have a synthetic turf field and yet….. He turned out ok.

  12. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued
    I think the school should prioritize what is important. Maintaining quality teachers is the most important thing. Major building maintenance of course will need to be taken care of, but not pot holes in the roads, or synthetic turf. If there is not enough money left over AFTER you take care of the important things FIRST to replace the synthetic turf then lock the doors on that facility and go back to skinner field. Your comparison of the football stadium to a sick patient is not a valid one as a football field and the other is a human life. Cuts are coming everywhere we need to decide what is important and what is not. As you so wisely stated the teachers and staff make the difference, not the facilities. So I will not and cannot support a millage aimed solely at supporting the frill projects of the past.

  13. Charlie Towns says:

    Continued
    We should have thought about the road maintenance when we put them in, now we will have to drive around the pot holes. We should have thought about the cost of turf replacement when we build that money pit of a stadium now we may have to go back to skinner field.

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