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Archive | Voices and Views

Familiarity can be dangerous

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

Familiarity can be dangerous

John Mellencamp’s song, Small Town, is now 30 years old. It’s strange to think that I’ve spent more than half that time as a coach, teacher, minister, friend, and family member here in this “small town.”

I’ve sung it many times myself, “I can breathe in a small town.” And this town, with all of its “big sky,” as a friend of mine says, is still a great place to live, work, and play.

But I’ve seen it all in a small town.” That’s a line one could hear in any town USA. More recently in this town, some have felt emboldened to proclaim that line in protest. We’ve become a community of division, dishonesty, suspicion, and spite. Indeed, we need unity, integrity, togetherness, and support. That is why school board elections are so important.

As a business owner, I know that the longer one is a client of mine, the less they know about what I do. Whether familiarity or comfort, I need to remind them often of the scope of my practice for the same reason I tell my wife and kids that I love them. Familiarity can become dangerous. Being comfortable with personnel and systems and objects so woven into our daily routine can make most things invisible. It takes a wise friend to uncover the blind spots—lack of skill for a position, ineffective procedures, or character trumped by convenience.

We are a community standing at a precipice where the “sky is big” but the bottom is one misstep away. Having consistent, balanced, and engaged leadership, better financial focus, and community centeredness through true collaboration are critical. I believe Heidi Reed represents these commitments. Returning to the “glory days” is always a mirage. Instead, let’s create something strong and pioneering, the basis for building an educational legacy for years to come. That is something worth voting for, and maybe one day worth writing a song about.

In the chorus Mellencamp says, “I cannot forget the people who love me.” This small town would do well to join that chorus, and remember Heidi Reed on Election Day.

Chad Wight, Courtland Township

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School Board election concern

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

School Board election concern

Teachers are treasures of CSPS! They impact student’s lives daily. It’s come to my attention teachers are being asked to sign a letter in support of school board candidates running as a duo. It’s concerning they’re asked to choose “sides.”  How is that collaboration? Why are only “chosen ones” acknowledged as collaborative? Using trusted teacher position to sway votes from those who may be uninformed of facts feels like an intimidation.

Over 70% of CSPS teachers don’t reside within the district. It’s troubling that individuals unable to vote are being asked to influence the outcome. Why is this? The individuals pushing this letter are friends and/or relatives of former employees and members of the SOS steering committee who perpetuate the CSPS broken unity since the hiring of Dr. VanDuyn. They concentrate on the past, which doesn’t allow CSPS to unite and work together to move forward. Several members of the SOS steering committee are also at the forefront for the Sabinas/Bowser Campaign.

Current administration is transforming CSPS with positive change everywhere! Changed leadership has brought accountability and transparency in areas needing repair. Services have moved closer to students. Teachers have the same medical insurance at a cheaper rate. New tracking by HR of teacher PD assists them with their certification. Financial budgeting being moved to each building gives teachers a voice and allows collaboration between principal and teachers to ensure clearer financials to protect the fiscal health of everyone at CSPS.

Quoting Steve Seward’s Twitter “When struggling w/change is it resulting from: control, ego, consciousness, competency, &/OR your values & beliefs (identity)?” Teachers’ services are valued, please value parents’ freedom to research and choose leaders for the school board. Voters please consult with Mlive’s voters’ guide and CS Post candidate questions to see qualifications, business experiences and volunteers’ experience.

After this debate is over, people will leave CSPS but the school remains. Let’s leave it intact. Teachers your community loves you, and wants to give you tools to be successful in educating our children. Please allow everyone the freedom to vote and work together for the children of CSPS.

Stephanie Morris, Solon Township

Community Member and Concerned CSPS Parent

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We owe positive change to school board

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

We owe positive change to school board

My sons received an excellent education at Cedar Springs Schools. Even though they graduated several years ago, I still attend school board meetings to keep abreast of the strides our district is making. There are so many things happening which are benefitting all our children. The district is moving in a positive direction and we owe much of that change to our school board. Children are always the first consideration when our board members make decisions.

I have great pride in knowing the Cedar Springs School district has high standards and is very passionate about the education of our students. With such a responsibility, it is important to carefully vote for candidates who will continue to help improve our educational system. This is exactly why I believe Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed are the perfect choices for Cedar Springs School Board. On November 8, make the right decision and vote for our students—vote for Joe and Heidi.

Sally Smith, Nelson Township

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Marckini and Reed the best candidates

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

Marckini and Reed the best candidates

I am fairly new to the Cedar Springs area. Prior to this summer, I knew nothing about ANY of the School Board candidates. I was a relatively blank slate.  I recognized that I needed more information, so I researched the candidates and the politics surrounding the School Board.

As part of my research, I attended two Sabinas & Bowser Meet & Greet events.  I had hoped to hear them speak about their student centered vision.  Instead, I heard Ms. Bowser & Mr. Sabinas misrepresent information regarding district finances and the administration.

The outcome of this election will have a direct impact on my child’s/our children’s education and future.

Therefore, I want to share with you the truthful FACTS I have learned from my research.

Sabinas & Boswer False Statement:  Between January and August 2016, 55 Staff have left.

Truth:  I have reviewed every BOE Minutes from January through August 2016, and have identified only 53 names that have gone before the board. Of those 53, 6 were internal moves, and still employed by the district, while 7 were temporary positions and/or coaches. The remaining 40 names I have categorized for analysis.

Licensed Staff – 6 (15%); Certified Teachers -7 (18%); Non-Certified Roles -16 (43%); Retirees -11(28%)

As you can see, the actual number of TEACHERS who have left the district is 7.  ONLY 7!

Sabinas & Bowser False Statement: The Board does not meet with community members.

Truth:  Mr. Sabinas sent an email to the board, and requested a meeting with each board member.  However, it is a violation of the Open Meetings Act for board members to individually meet with the same person on one issue.

For additional examples how they have misrepresented the facts, including “Where is the 1.3 Million over budget”, please email CedarVote@gmail.com with subject line – Post Article.

My research has proven to me that Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed are BY FAR the best candidates for our children, our school board, and our community!

Please vote for Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed on November 8th!

Thank you, Linda Keim, Nelson Township

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A hidden agenda?

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

A hidden agenda?

I am writing because I am concerned that there is a hidden agenda afoot. The school board candidates that are running as a team I believe are intentionally misleading voters. They apparently want to fire our current superintendent and bring back the past deadwood, including the previous athletic administration. The past administrations were less qualified and fiscally irresponsible. I believe the past days of the “Good Ole Boys” network are gone and have no place in our schools. We need to restore integrity in our school system. With our current superintendent we have taken the correct steps forward and we will continue those steps forward by electing Heidi Reed.

Tom House, Nelson Township

Senior citizen/Volunteer at school

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An Advocate that puts kids first

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

An Advocate that puts kids first

The quality of a child’s education will have a lasting and powerful impact on their future and the future of their community. Working as a licensed social worker with families and children, I have seen the evidence of this firsthand.

As an alumna of Cedar Springs High School, my hope is that every child in the Cedar Springs Public School District receives an education that serves as a solid foundation for success. In order for that hope to be a reality, the children of Cedar Springs need a school board member who will put their needs first.  Our children deserve an advocate who will ask the tough questions and who recognizes the complexity of today’s educational environment.

When I first met Heidi Reed years ago she was raising three young boys, working full time, and still finding a way to strongly support a group of CSHS Varsity softball players. She was an avid supporter of extracurricular activities, recognizing that learning happens both inside and outside the classroom.

In the years since, Heidi Reed has only deepened her commitment to the children of CSPS and the community.

As the wife of a current CSPS teacher and the mother of three young gentlemen, including two current CSPS students, she has firsthand knowledge of the current successes and challenges of Cedar Springs Public School District.

As an active member of our community, she supports local organizations that have a direct, positive impact on our children. She already has a proven record of putting the kids of CSPS first by regularly attending school board meetings, serving on the Sinking Fund Committee since 2010, and working on the 2016 District Improvement Team.

The children of CSPS deserve a school board member who will put them first. They deserve an advocate who knows the current needs of CSPS students firsthand. Heidi Reed will be that advocate.

On election day, please consider putting the children of CSPS first by voting for Heidi Reed.

Heather DeLine, MSW, LSW, Nelson Township

CSHS Class of 2007

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Concerned voter

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

Concerned voter

I am a taxpayer in the Cedar Springs District and have been dismayed over the ugly politics being played in our schools. I have observed the barrage of negative attacks against the superintendent and the school board as the new leadership had demanded accountability and transparency. These attacks, seemingly made by a few disgruntled employees, their families and friends, have promoted the dual ticket running for school board.

To the detriment of the entire educational system, Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser have steadfastly represented the interests of only a handful of voters. What is their true motive for running for school board?

They complain that our top three administrators don’t live in the district. Why don’t they complain about the five principals and 79 percent of the teaching staff who do not live in the district? Does it really matter where staff members live?

They seem to be concerned about the students and staff who have left our district. Student count has increased. Staff members choose to leave their jobs for a variety of reasons. Some retire, some move and others want to work closer to home.

They are unable to produce authoritative evidence to support the claims they make. Positive changes cannot be made by spreading negativity and rumors.

Mistie has run twice for the board in the past and wasn’t elected. I can’t think of any good reason to elect either one now.

I encourage those who are in favor of the positive progress being made in the district to vote for the two individuals running for the sake of the students and moving forward in Cedar Springs: incumbent Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed.

Concerned voter,

Denise Bremmer, Algoma Township

 

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Let your voice be heard on November 8

NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

Let your voice be heard on November 8

Our nation is extremely divided. Cedar Springs is, too. We all want what’s best for our nation and our school district. As a nation our national debt is a big concern. As a school district, it is important to retain a balanced budget while being transparent to our taxpayers.

As a nation, we must remember that all lives matter including the unborn. As a school district, we need to continue putting our kids first by offering intervention for the at-risk population and job training skills along with continuing the progress we have made by offering middle college and dual enrollment to the students who need to be challenged.

Our nation’s borders need to be secure, so we can live in a safe society. As a school district, we need to continue to keep our schools safe. Employing a safety officer is a start. Securing our schools, endorsing programs such as BE NICE and OK2Say, along with professional development for our teachers and staff are just a few of the other ways of maintaining a safe and healthy school environment.

I applaud everyone who wants to make our school district better. Each candidate has their unique gifts and abilities. Based on what I’ve read of each candidate, I feel that Heidi Reed and Joe Marckini have what it takes to sit on the school board. “As you discover what strength you can draw from your community in this world from which it stands apart, look outward as well as inward. Build bridges instead of walls.” Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayer

 

Shelley Bauer, Nelson Township

Employee of Cedar Springs Schools

Parent of student at Cedar Springs Middle School

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In support of Sabinas and Bowser

Dear Community Members,

I am a graduate of Cedar Springs Public Schools and taught in Cedar for 24 years before retiring in 2010. I loved my job. We were a close-knit group. We learned from each other, helped each other and were supported by our administrators. I worked on the negotiating team with board members and administrators collaboratively. We could talk openly, expressing any concerns we had.

Cedar schools were at the cutting edge professionally and academically. Cedar was known as the “best kept secret in Kent County.” Now other districts are questioning what is going on in our district and we have become the laughing stock of West Michigan.

Teachers continuously go through change; new leadership, new curriculum, new students.  They are not afraid of “Change.”

The change I currently see and feel in our district makes me sad and concerned for the future. We have lost excellent teachers and administrators. We have lost more than 50 employees since January 2016. Why? Our district is divided with their loyalties to each other and the direction the district is going. They fear saying anything because they don’t know whom they can trust and have watched the retribution time and time again. They are scared and don’t want to be the next one targeted as so many to date.

Currently the board has lawyers showing up at “collaborative” contract negotiations. We have paidconsultants supporting some of our new administrators. I wonder how much money has been spent on lawyer fees and consultants in the last two years.

We have students leaving our school system because of the conflicts in the community. Our fund balance is diminishing.

Our top three administrators chose to not live in our wonderful district and the superintendent does not even send her children to Cedar schools. What does that tell our community?

Is this really the direction you think is best for us to be heading? The best thing for kids?

I support electing Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser for board members. What they stand for and their vision is what Cedar schools need now!!

Sincerely,

Concerned citizen for Cedar Springs Schools

Peggy (Nielsen) Hansen,

Nelson Township

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 A vote to preserve and improve quality of school system

As a parent and active volunteer at my children’s school I care deeply about the students and staff at CSPS. The upcoming school board election will have significant impact on the future of CSPS. We need to elect individuals who are dedicated to addressing the educational needs of the district, are financially responsible and whose only agenda is in preserving and improving the quality of our school system. That is why I am voting for Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed.

Liz Grice, Algoma Township

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