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Categorized | Post Scripts

Assertions on school bond proposal not accurate

(response to letter last week from Daniel Davis)

Mr. Davis,

Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy. Many of the assertions shared in your letter published in the Post on July 23 were not accurate. Cedar Springs Public Schools is not asking our community to “just trust us” concerning this upcoming bond election or any other facet of our operation. Countless public meetings have taken place since November 2018 discussing the District’s facility needs. We are asking our community to “join us” as together, we can partner to make Cedar Springs an even more attractive place to live, learn, work, and play. 

Please allow me to clarify the ballot’s wording regarding the general obligation unlimited tax bonds. While the word “unlimited” does appear on the ballot, it does not relate to the amount of money Cedar Springs Public Schools can obtain from its community through taxes. The bond application approved by the Board of Education in a public meeting on April 13, 2020, and on file with the State Department of Treasury, clearly spells out the details of the projects included in the bond proposal. The maximum amount of bonds that can be legally issued cannot exceed the $68,000,000 stated in the ballot language. The word “unlimited” pertains to the full faith and commitment of Cedar Springs Public Schools to repay the bond debt through the collection of taxes.  

Even an extremely conservative estimate indicates CSPS will not need to increase the tax rate to repay these general obligation bonds. The district will have thirty (30) years to repay the obligation. However, it is estimated that passage of the $68,000,000 bond would still only keep the debt millage rate at 7.00 mills through 2036 before slowly declining as a result of bond repayment and taxable value growth. For the record, property values in Cedar Springs are increasing. The present five-year average historical taxable value growth for properties located in the Cedar Springs Public Schools District is 4.74%. The twenty-year average historical taxable value growth rate is 4.09%. The taxable value growth for 2020 and 2019 have been 5.36% and 6.37% respectively.

Chris LaHaie, Chief Financial Officer

Cedar Springs Public Schools

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