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Tag Archive | "Board of Education"

New sports turf installed at Red Hawk Stadium


Fall sports have kicked off, and one of the new items greeting athletes, the high school marching band, and fans, is the new sports turf at Red Hawk Stadium.

“We are excited to kick off the 2017-18 school year with a beautiful new Red Hawk Stadium turf,” said Cedar Springs Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “As our Cedar Springs Public Schools campus is the center point of this great community, it is our honor to shine for all to see our Cedar Springs pride with this new look.”

Replacement of the turf was identified as one of the needs in a 2011 bond issue study for the sinking fund millage. The cost at that time was estimated at $750-850,000. However, Shaw Sports Turf came in with a cost of $406,990.

The turf was replaced this summer, in time for the marching band to hold their annual band camp.

“We are grateful for the research, experience and work our Athletic Director, Mr. John Norton, and our Director of Operations, Mr. Ken Simon did to prepare and oversee this project,” said VanDuyn. “We are also grateful for our Board of Education supporting the purchase and installation of our new turf as well as for our principals, maintenance department, coaches and music directors for their input.”

VanDuyn said she hopes the community will come out to various events to see the new turf, such as at soccer and football games, the CSPS fundraiser walk-a-thon, the Red Flannel Festival Marching Band Invitational and the annual Powder Puff football game.

She also thanked the community for their part in making it happen. “On behalf of our Board of Education, Administration, staff and students, thank you Cedar Springs residents for investing in our schools, by providing for a sinking fund that made this beautiful new stadium turf possible.”

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Response to “Reader disappointed in story choice”


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 Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


I too was at the last board of education meeting. I admire your dedication to family in supporting the position of a relative on the board, however there are a few statements you made that I don’t believe are accurate. One only needs to look through recent issues of the Post to see several articles about our students’ accomplishments. One article in the last 7 months bringing awareness to our community that our teachers are STILL working under fear and intimidation does not constitute a pattern. I would also argue that the ‘slanted viewpoint from the vocal minority’ is not accurate. The board meeting I attended was standing room only, and ended with a standing ovation from an overwhelming majority when Trustee Sabinas filed a formal complaint against Dr. VanDuyn. The Cedar Springs Post has a responsibility to this community to report ALL news, even if it’s something you don’t want to see. I don’t want to see our teachers publicly beg for help from the board of education month after month for over two years, yet here we are and it is STILL happening. So while we ALL would like to see news full of sunshine and rainbows, it’s difficult to admire the drapes when the house is on fire.

Tami Elliston, Cedar Springs

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Transportation News 


 

Board of Education Voted to Privatize Transportation Services

As you know, our transportation department is incredibly important to our students families, staff, district and community.  The department is a critical operation in our mission to provide a great education for our students.  Our transportation colleagues are tasked with providing a safe ride to and from school each day as drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, aides and supervisors.  As we all know, it is our drivers who are the first and the last staff members to see our kids each day.  We have a great deal of respect for their work and the commitment they make as an integral part of CSPS.

Last year a transportation study was done by Excel Consultants in order to look at our costs, our bus fleet, our routing system, etc.  Recommendations were made such as selling some of the old buses and getting a quote on what privatization costs would be compared to having our “in-district” transportation services.  The recommendations were adhered to and the result of the quote for privatization surfaced as a viable and fiscally responsible option for the District.  On Monday, April 24, 2017, the Board of Education voted to privatize transportation services with Dean Transportation.

Prior to bringing forth the concept of privatization, our Transportation Supervisor, Director of Operations, all of our transportation department employees and I worked through a long and important process together.  The process involved meetings together, meetings for our employees to have with Dean Transportation and meetings held with just the transportation department employees as a colleagial group.  All questions our employees wished to have answered were answered with regard to topics such as what a position with Dean would look like, what benefits would be offered versus not receiving benefits or full-time work with CSPS, what retirement in the public system would look like versus what they might gain by working for Dean, etc. Please know that the transportation department employees were in favor of privatization.  The majority asked to privatize and to do so only with Dean.  I brought forth a recommendation to the Board of Education in support of what the department voted for amongst themselves.

Having said that, please know it is not ideal for every transportation employee but rather the great majority; hence, their request to privatize.  We regret that any employee will leave our CSPS if it was not of their choosing.  We value every employee and the time they each have served here.  I am pleased to share that our buses will still have Cedar Springs Public Schools on them (not Dean Transportation) which is something that is very important to all of us.

Dean Transportation comes highly recommended and is committed to hiring on our supervisor, dispatcher and drivers and to making a smooth transition to the 2017-18 school year when they will officially take over.  Your child/ren will see the familiar faces of our drivers as well as they will still be with us but will be employed by Dean.  Additionally, our transportation employees will continue to spend time with us at the end and beginning-of-the-year ceremonies…they are still every bit a part of our great CSPS.

Please know that the savings to the district is approximately $350,000-$400,000/year on-going and a one-time sale of the bus fleet to gain $600,000 as we transition next year.  The budget for next year included 6 new buses at $510,000 that we would have to purchase each year going forward due to our very old fleet. Due to privatization that $510,000 can be removed from the budget planning process. Clearly, the Board considered all the financial information as it will be of benefit to the District to realize these cost savings.  Thank you for your understanding of the decision the Board made and please contact me should you have any questions or concerns.

I want to thank all who participated in the long and thoughtful process to help make this recommendation.  Dean Transportation was so impressed with the way we handled this difficult consideration and decision and the care we offered our employees. Our employees will be in a great company, should they choose to work for Dean.  Dean has a remarkable reputation for how well they treat their employees.   As always, thank you for partnering with us to provide an excellent education for your child.

Sincerely, Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Cedar Springs Public School
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From the Superintendent’s Desk


Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

Exciting School District News: 2017 Refunding Bonds! The Board of Education Cedar Springs Public Schools is proud to announce the successful sale of its 2017 Refunding Bonds in the amount of $7,060,000.  The Bonds are being issued for the purpose of currently refunding a portion of the School District’s outstanding 2007 Refunding Bonds and to pay the costs of issuing the Bonds. The 2017 Refunding Bonds reduce the School District interest expense over $679,873 for the taxpayers and will occur through lower debt payments over the next 12 years.

In preparing to sell the 2017 Refunding Bonds the School District, working with their financial advisor, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, requested that S&P Global Ratings, acting through Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) evaluate the School District’s credit quality.  S&P assigned the School District the outstanding underlying rating of “A+”.  The rating agency cited the School District’s stable economy with good incomes, strong market value per capita, stable enrollment, strong reserves and moderate debt burden in their rational for rating of the School District at this level.

I’m extremely pleased with the results of the refunding and thrilled that we’re able to save the taxpayers of Cedar Springs almost $700,000 over the next 12 years!   When you add that to the $2.5 million saved from last years’ refunding, that’s significant.

The School District’s financing was conducted by the Michigan investment banking office of the brokerage firm, Stifel, the financial advising firm, PFM Financial Advisors LLC and the law firm serving as bond counsel, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.  The School District’s 2017 Refunding Bonds were sold at a true interest rate of 2.85% with a final maturity of 2029 (a repayment term of approximately 12 years). Jeffrey Zylstra, Managing Director with Stifel states, “Cedar Springs Public Schools’ Bonds were well received by the bond market.  We were able to take advantage of current interest rates that met the goals of the District and resulted in a nice savings that will be passed on to the District’s Taxpayers.”

Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about this exciting news.

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Office:  616-696-1204 ext. 1001    Cell: 925-899-3111    Email: laura.vanduyn@csredhawks.org

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Board rates Superintendent highly effective 


 

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Dr. VanDuyn’s contract renewed through 2020

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn has been rated “highly effective” by the Board of Education for the third year in a row, and they have extended her contract through 2020.

According to a release from current Board of Education President Matthew Shoffner, they met with the Superintendent in closed session on December 12 for her annual evaluation. They used the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) superintendent evaluation tool/rubric, and rated her in areas of performance that include: Governance & Board Relations; Community Relations; Staff Relations; Business & Finance; Instructional Leadership; Student Growth. Board members were trained by the MASB in best practices of evaluating the superintendent.

“Dr. VanDuyn received the highest possible rating of ‘Highly Effective,’ said then-Board President Patricia Eary. “She’s taken on many difficult situations, but has done so with grace, courage, servant leadership and professionalism. She’s a champion for all students and a firm believer in and supporter of our staff. Highly effective does not mean there is not room for growth. We can all improve; therefore, the Board sets goals for the superintendent each year. One such goal moving forward is a focus on the culture and climate of the District.”

Dr. Laura VanDuyn began as Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools in July of 2014. She replaced retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

“Since that time there has been notable progress throughout the District,” it says in the Board statement. “At the State of the Schools presentation on January 23, 2017 it was evident once again that the superintendent, administration, teachers and support staff are working hard to provide for the best education for our Cedar Springs students. Accomplishments from all areas of the District were presented. Dr. VanDuyn continually thanked the fine staff, students, parents and community for their collaborative efforts to produce such impressive results.

“Some highlights of the great work this year include:  high-quality professional learning for staff in math instruction, Responsive Classroom, Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching; completion of strategic planning; a high school ‘silver’ rating by US News for two consecutive years as well as being selected by the College Board to be on the AP Honor Roll for the first time this year; high-quality special education professional learning and improved compliance ratings; implementation of new K-5 math curriculum; implementation of a counseling/mental health/crisis plan; the award of two State grants—one for early intervention and one for our first-ever robotics program; the well-deserved ‘lime green’ rating with the state of Michigan—that is a remarkable 2-level improvement in state assessment scores in just 2 years; many advancements in operations and business for effective and efficient practices.”

Newly appointed Board President, Matthew Shoffner, would like to see continued forward progress in the District and said, “Dr. VanDuyn came to CSPS with immense background and knowledge in educational leadership, along with a variety of experiences, which have begun to strengthen and temper us. I am committed to working alongside Dr. VanDuyn to continue to improve our great district. As we move ahead Dr. VanDuyn will gather survey data from all stakeholders to inform her and the Board of Education of the direction we all want to see for our CSPS. We look forward to using that data to continue our growth.”

Per standard practice, the Board also reviewed the Superintendent’s contract at the same time as they did the evaluation. A special board meeting was called for December 15, 2016 for the Board to discuss and vote in open session on the contract. The Board moved to make revisions to the contract that included firming up or adding language to meet the legal requirements, such as the definition/components of Michigan Revised School Code 1249b. One of the components under 1249b says that if the Superintendent has been rated highly effective for three years in a row, the evaluation shall be biennial, as long as the performance remains highly effective.

Additionally, the superintendent was granted three additional vacation days (to make it 28) and two additional sick leave days (to make it 12). “The superintendent contract was extended another year through 2020 as a result of her performance and commitment to our CSPS,” it said in the release.

According to the contract, Dr. VanDuyn’s salary is $152,796 for the 2016-17 year, $155,852 for 2017-18; $158,969.04 for 2018-19; and $162,168.42 for 2019-20. If the Superintendent’s contract is automatically extended for a year through 2020-21 as a result of being highly effective, her salary would be $165,411.78 for that year.

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Exciting School District News: 


Board of Education take Oath of Office at the January 9, 2017 Board meeting.

Board of Education take Oath of Office at the January 9, 2017 Board meeting.

2017 Refunding Bonds

The Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education is committed to providing an excellent education for every child in the district.  The Board of Education is committed to high expectations for excellence in all we do as a district.  We hold ourselves and all others accountable and expect every person to work with integrity in all positions.  To that end, this Board of Education is providing transparency in all they do.  This Board is proud of the impressive forward motion of the school district and a list of many accomplishments by the outstanding staff and students of Cedar Springs.

An example of a recent accomplishment that will serve our district and community well is the 2017 refunding of Bonds.  The Superintendent, Board of Education, Director of Business and Finance, CSPS Accountant, financial advisers to the District, banks and legal counsel are working through a lengthy process to make the bond refunding possible.   A summary of the bond refunding process is illustrated as follows:

December 12, 2016: Board of Education adopted a delegating resolution at a regular board meeting. This authorized the Superintendent to accept and execute a Bond Purchase Agreement with the Underwriter.

January 12, 2017: Due Diligence Conference call with all parties to review POS

January 26, 2017:  Conference call with the rating agency

February 7, 2017: Pricing of bonds (subject to market conditions)

February 8, 2017:  Execution of the bond purchase agreement

February 27 or March 13: Board of Education adopts a “ratification resolution” at a regular board meeting.  This is an additional, but not mandatory step, to add a greater depth of transparency and support to the process.  Signatures from the Superintendent, Board President and Board Secretary are required to adopt the resolution.

March 16, 2017: Bond Closing

This Board of Education and District Leadership Team are excited to be working through this long and involved process to save our taxpayers over 1.1 million dollars over the next several years!

Please see our website www.csredhawks.org where all documents related to the bond refunding will be available for your review.  Please feel free to contact Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent of Schools, at 696-1204, should you have questions about this exciting news.

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From the superintendent’s desk


Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Happy 2017 – it is going to be a terrific year!  We welcome everyone back to school as we continue our focus on teaching and learning at CSPS.

As we kick off a brand new year, it is an ideal time to learn about the vision, mission, core values and brand promise that was adopted by our Board of Education in December.  The Board of Education embarked on the strategic planning process to update the direction of the District.   The most important part of that process was to gather stakeholder feedback.

To that end, approximately 125 teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, students and community members participated in focus groups to provide input on the future and direction they (and those they represented) would like to see for CSPS.  Additionally, the entire staff of CSPS was asked to provide their input on selecting the core values, which define the way will go about our work.  The engagement and input was impressive and the outcome is just the same.  The following was formally adopted by our dedicated Board of Education and will shape our work as we move forward:

Vision (where we are trying to go):  Cedar Springs Public Schools will prepare all students to be independent thinkers and life-long learners who are confident and engaged in their community and world.

Mission (why we are doing what we’re doing):  Cedar Springs Public Schools is a welcoming, inclusive educational environment where students are challenged to reach their potential, and are prepared for life beyond school.

Core Values (how we are going to go about our work- we’ll do so with):  Integrity, Respect, Compassion, Accountability, Collaboration

Brand Promise (our “trademark”):  Purpose, Potential, Pride

We are excited to keep these tenets of our strategic plan at the forefront of our work with students, staff, families and our community.  On behalf of the Board of Education and our outstanding CSPS collegial team, I thank each and every one of the many people who gave of their time to commit to this important process.  Thank you for your part in continuing to move forward our great Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Warmly, 

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., CSPS Superintendent of Schools

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Board of Education votes in new board president


Matt Shoffner, right,  is the new president of the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

Matt Shoffner, right, is the new president of the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on Monday evening January 9 and elected new officers to various positions.

Matt Shoffner was elected as board president for 2017. He has not previously held that position. Brook Nichols was voted in as vice president; former president Patricia Eary as secretary; and newcomer Heidi Reed as treasurer. Rounding out the board as trustees are Michele Bayink, Shannon Vanderhyde, and newcomer Ted Sabinas.

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Honoring Outstanding School Board Members


 

Dear CSPS Families and Colleagues:

It is the time of year when we focus on that for which we are thankful.  There are many things in our district and community for which to be thankful, including those who rise above self and serve others.  Mr. Joe Marckini and Mr. Jeff Gust have done just that as they have served on our CSPS Board of Education for several years.  Please join me in thanking them for their volunteerism and for taking on the challenges of leadership with courage, engagement and compassion.

csps-joe-marckiniMr. Joe Marckini is a lifelong resident of Kent County and has been a Cedar Springs resident since 1996.  He is the proud father of 2 wonderful daughters, both CSHS graduates.  He and his wife Elizabeth are strong supporters of public education and have been active volunteers throughout the CSPS district and the Cedar Springs community.

Mr. Marckini is an active participant in the legislative process at the local, state and national level. He has taken trips to Washington D.C. to advocate for our Cedar Springs schools.  He is passionate about always doing what is best for students and has dedicated nearly 10 years of his time to seeing that passion through to successful results.  Mr. Marckini has participated in thousands of hours of school board member training and has earned several levels of achievements and awards as well as serving as President of the Board of Education.

csps-jeff-gustMr. Jeff Gust is a lifelong resident of Cedar Springs.  He and his wife Barb are proud graduates of CSHS.  They are the proud parents of 3 great children who all graduated from CSHS!  Not only does Mr. Gust serve but his wife does as well as a secretary at our high school.

Mr. Gust is well respected for the countless hours he has spent throughout the district, whether it is to referee the Red Flannel Festival powder puff game, serve in the concession stands, join in the excitement of Back-to-School nights, or help our littlest students find the correct bus the first week of school.  Regardless of the event or activity, you’ll find Mr. Gust there exhibiting his great Red Hawk pride!

Mr. Gust has served for nearly 6 years, most recently as the Secretary of the Board of Education.  Prior to that he has dedicated much of his time as a member of the Finance and Sinking Fund committees.

As these 2 long-term Board of Education members go off the board at the end of December, we will remember them for their selfless volunteerism and leadership as it’s quite impressive to give so generously in an effort to do what is best for kids.

Thank you, Mr. Marckini and Mr. Gust, you and your service to our district and community will be sorely missed!

Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

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Student Presentation – Costa Rica: A Touch of the Tropics


csps-boe-student-presentation-a

November 7, 2016 Board Meeting 

csps-boe-student-presentationTeacher Amy Holmes and her students presented to the Board of Education an outstanding presentation of their adventures on their Costa Rica Trip. The Costa Rica trip took place June 23, 2016 – July 2, 2016. These students detailed their wonderful daily experiences with the local culture. Students commented that the trip was truly an experience; to be able to use the native language and communicate was incredible.  These students also commented on how the trip has positively influenced their lives and broadened their understanding of the world and other cultures. The Costa Rica trip was a great experience and filled with memories the students will take with them forever. They concluded the presentation with a big thank you to the Board of Education for approving this Costa Rica trip and encouraging more just like it in the future.

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