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Archive | Post Scripts

What’s happening to our school board?

 

To the Cedar Springs Community,

I am a concerned parent and community member. At Cedar Springs Public Schools, we prided ourselves on evolving our school district into one of the best in Kent County. The pillars of success that we are known for include Cognitive coaching, Adaptive schools and Professional Learning Communities dedicated to ensuring our teachers and administrators are trained and proficient in delivering and enhancing our children’s learning. Our children’s education was our number one priority. But the state of our district has changed and there are behaviors and patterns that cause concern for our future.

According to the Center for Public education, the school board is supposed to serve their communities in several important ways:

  • First and foremost look out for students.
  • When making decisions about school programs, incorporate their community’s view of what students should know and be able to do.
  • Be accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of their schools.
  • Ensure that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent.

It is increasingly apparent that our leadership is acting in their best interests and beliefs vs. the community’s.  Parents, teachers and administrators have brought forward example after example—written and verbally—of concerns, mismanagement and actions not in alignment with the excellence we have achieved and come to expect in Cedar Springs. The board has not demonstrated the behaviors expected of a board:  willingness to listening, understanding the issues fully, and then acting on behalf of our children and community and what is best for their academic success. They have gone to great lengths to defend and protect their direction and new leadership, despite the feedback they are hearing. Discussion at board meetings has been misrepresented in the published minutes; they have sent numerous signals through behavior and words that our concerns don’t matter; there has been no communication on the academic strategy of our district; and they have undervalued our teaching staff. When is enough, enough?

Three of our top performing administrators have left in the last nine months—Steve Seward, Jennifer Harper and now Dave Cairy. Why?

Our focus and resources dedicated to the cognitive coaching discipline have been cut by four positions in the last year, while the data shows the overwhelming impact and value it has given to our teaching staff and student outcomes. Why?

These are just a few of the big questions. We need parents to be aware, ask questions, be informed on what is going on and help to hold the board and our superintendent accountable. Form your own opinions.

We have worked way too hard as a district to come this far and allow it to slip away. Come to the board meetings, be curious and let your voice be heard.

Laura Davis, Algoma Township  


Post Scripts 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.

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CS School board treasurer speaks out

 

To the Community of Cedar Springs:

I, Michelle Bayink, was unable to attend the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday, October 12, 2015 due to an out-of-state work assignment. I have upcoming work obligations and I will not be able to attend the October 26 and the November 9th meetings.

I am stating that at the October 12, 2015 Cedar Springs Board of Education meeting a statement was read by the board president and was not shared with me prior to the meeting and was not part of the board packet. I had no knowledge of the statement being addressed to the public and I do not support the statement.

Respectfully, 

Michelle Bayink

Board Treasurer

m3bayink@yahoo.com


Post Scripts 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.

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Happy with school superintendent

 

As a follow up to Lyle Perry, Jr.’s comment last week, Superintendent VanDuyn’s letter in the post was outstanding! I am very excited and hopeful about the direction I see her taking our school district. It was also very encouraging to hear the school board members voice their support of Dr. VanDuyn and all she is accomplishing at this week’s school board meeting. As a parent with four children in the district I would also like to thank Dr. VanDuyn, the administrators, teachers, and support staff for the way the lock down situation was handled on Monday. I think you all did a great job, thank you for keeping our kids safe!

Jenny Skelonc, Sand Lake

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Inspiring Letter

 

Dear Editor,

The letter in the Post from Cedar Springs School Superintendent Laura VanDuyn is outstanding! Progress achieved and plans made for the future are reassuring and inspiring!

Lyle Perry, Jr., Cedar Springs

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Shame on you

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.


 

 

To the person or persons who took a tote from the Cedar Springs United Methodist church on Tuesday morning, October 6:

I want you to know just what you took. This tote was filled with health kits which were being sent for distribution to people who are victims of natural disasters or are refugees fleeing war. These combs, wash cloths, towels, toothbrushes, soap and nail care items were purchased with nickels, dimes and dollars contributed by children during Vactation Bible School and church members who supported them. They were expressing their concern for other children and their families who have nothing yet seek to regain their personal dignity. You did not steal from us – you have taken from folks who are really in desperate need. Think about it!

Ann Scott, Missions Team Chariperson

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

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Thank you

Post Script 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.


 

I would like to say thank you to the stranger that stopped and helped my daughter and I when we fell on the White Pine Trail, on Friday, August 21, 2015. We are both doing well and should heal pretty quickly. Thank you so much.

Trisha Dart, Cedar Springs

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Library votes for city to own new library

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.


 

 

I recently attended a special meeting of the Cedar Springs Library Board where they voted unanimously to request that the City own the new library after it is built. I am grateful for the board’s diligence, vision, and faith that not only would our community recognize the value of a new library but actively embrace it. I am also grateful for the considerable supports the CBDT has provided both financially and in creative problem solving. As a member of the City Council, I am looking forward to partnering with both the Library Board and the CBDT as we move toward construction. This process has been a testimony to the countless people who have patiently and tenaciously strived to realize a dream for this community that now spans decades. I am confident that our new library will be an asset to this community for generations to come. I truly believe the most important gift we can give our children is access to knowledge. This library exemplifies that gift. I want to thank all those involved for putting in the hard work to make this happen.

Sincerely,

Pam Conley, City of Cedar Springs

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“In-kind services”

Post Scripts 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.

 

Dear Editor,

In answer to Kathy Bremmer’s letter regarding to Cedar Springs’ “in-kind services” contributed to the Red Flannel Festival. To keep it short and sweet: a few years before the Red Flannel Festival/Cedar Springs blow-up took place, all the Festival policing and cleanup was furnished, free of charge, by the Village/City. It was the municipality’s part in the production of the celebration.

The Festival benefits the City and the City benefits the Festival. The Red Flannel history includes them BOTH and because the city is a beneficiary of the event it is appropriate that they should make a contribution to the celebration.

Dorothy Bishop, 

Past Director of the Red Flannel Festival and 

68-year resident of Cedar Springs and environs.  

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Is Council putting RFF needs before the community’s needs?

 

Dear Editor,

Councilor Powell’s remarks at a recent council meeting made it glaringly obvious that she believes the recent election has given this council license to put the Red Flannel Festival’s needs before those of our community as a whole.

Being a festival supporter in one’s private life should not translate into giving lobbyist-like preference to them as a member of council.  A recent FOIA of councilors’ messages regarding the festival revealed that:

Councilors have insisted on a timeline for business that fits the festival’s needs over the direction of our Manager.

Councilor Clark assured the festival president that members of the committee—Clark, Nixon, and Conley—were willing to do whatever was necessary to fulfill their demands over the good of the taxpayers: “From our meeting last  week we are prepared to cover work and expenses with a  broad brush.  We  need to determine the best ‘’in-kind –service”, historical/cultural  authorization (state) or other state authorized means (DDA, Brownfield, etc.) to meet the spending for a ‘public purpose’ requirement.  We will do  it.” 

Charges for police coverage have historically been paid by the RFF until this year, after Councilor Conley’s request to waive those costs for 2014. The original charges were $2,531.78, of which $869.95 was refunded on 12/15/2014. That not being satisfactory, the council voted, in April, to refund the full amount—leaving taxpayers footing the bill.

Sheriff Department’s cost estimates alone for this year are upwards to $6000.00. These estimates could go higher depending on the needs of the festival. Estimated future costs to taxpayers for the entire event could end up being $11,000.00 or more because of the “agreement” approved by the council that fundamentally gave away the store. The city is now required to do most of the work that volunteers did last year and we are paying for it.

A few years ago taxpayers had an opportunity to support festivals through a millage. The answer was a resounding NO. It seems this council has usurped taxpayers’ wishes and are using methods bordering on misfeasance to back their own personal interests.

Added to the facts above, when a council member, attending a business seminar with surrounding area officials, shows up wearing a Red Flannel sweatshirt and handing out the Festival’s advertising items, Cedar Springs has a serious problem with its representation.

Kathryn Bremmer, City of Cedar Springs

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Coverage of recently adopted service agreement left out a few vital details

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.


 

Dear Editor,

If it’s true that “any town’s history is only as good as its local newspaper,” then that newspaper has the responsibility to be totally neutral, complete and factual in its reporting. Coverage of a recently adopted service agreement between the City and the Red Flannel Festival left out a few vital details that could negatively impact taxpayers.

Potential legal ramifications to the City:

1. References to a prior agreement in the document have not being properly identified,

2. City services that will be provided have not been clearly specified,

3. No cost containment provisions for what the city could be required to spend for future festivals are included, 

4. The terms of nullifying the agreement are nearly impossible to meet and possibly unenforceable,

5. The Council ignored legal council’s concerns about these issues,

6. The Council ignored the Manager’s recommendations to follow legal council’s advice.

Additionally:

1. The City was forced to remove all Red Flannel logos by the Festival Board,

2. The cost to taxpayers for this dispute has been thousands of dollars,

3. The former Council had no choice but to create an individual and unique logo for the city to use on its vehicles, letterhead, etc.

4. Use of the Red Flannel Festival’s logo benefits and promotes one nonprofit over other local nonprofits,

5. It is not the city’s job to provide “long term sustainability” for festivals, rather, it is the Chamber of Commerce’s job to promote the city and all of its businesses.

The last local election vividly demonstrated the electorate’s lack of awareness of the true story surrounding the logo, the ousting of good public servants and the personal agenda mindset of the current council. Cedar Springs is more than a logo and with several new businesses coming to town we are moving forward. Just because a person challenges the actions of the RFF doesn’t mean they hate our red flannel history but that is the divisive message that has been promoted the last few years; it needs to stop!  Congratulations to Councilor Perry Hopkins for voting against the service agreement.  It takes a strong person to do the right thing in the face of such irresponsible behavior.

Kathryn A. Bremmer, City of Cedar Springs

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