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Tag Archive | "Board of Education"

Voters to consider school bond proposal



Come November 5, the Board of Education at Cedar Springs Public Schools is asking residents of the school district to weigh in on what they are calling the first significant investment in school facilities in over 15 years. That was when they built the current middle school.

“Our facilities require a significant capital investment in response to depreciation over time and steady increases in projected enrollment,” they wrote in a press release about the proposal.

Voters will be asked to approve a tax levy of 7.9 mills over the next eighteen years. If the bond proposal is approved by voters, it will provide $81,150,000 for district-wide improvements. The owner of a home with a market value of $150,000 would receive a tax increase of approximately $70 per year. 

The bond proposal is part of a long-term plan for district facilities. In 2016, the District partnered with GMB Architecture and Engineering to assess each of the schools. Their findings were used to determine and prioritize a list of facility needs throughout the District. 

The bond proposal includes building and site improvements, such as upgrading mechanical systems and building management systems for energy efficiency; and investing in capital improvements – boilers, unit ventilators, and roofing, as needed. Safety and security, and improving the learning environments is also a big part of the proposal.

“What is most exciting for our community is that this proposal will enhance the learning environment for students in each of our schools,” said Superintendent Scott Smith.

Smith explained the plans for each of the schools under the bond proposal.
Cedar Trails: “Starting at Cedar Trails, the plan is to open additional learning spaces for our students in Kindergarten and 1st grade. This will be accomplished by moving our early childhood programs to a new Early Childhood Center located at a renovated Red Hawk Elementary School.”  

Beach: “The next major part of the proposal creates new learning spaces for our 2nd and 3rd grade students at Beach Elementary school. The current academic wing was open in 1964 and is in need of replacement due to the condition and design of its infrastructure. The plan calls for the construction of a new academic wing at Beach that will tie into the current cafeteria and gymnasium.”

Cedar View: “Cedar View is one of two schools that still needs a secure entry to prevent visitors from having immediate access to classrooms. The bond proposal would provide necessary funds to construct a new main entrance to the school.” This school houses 4th and 5th graders.

Red Hawk: “The proposal transforms Red Hawk Elementary School into a learning center with a unique community focus. After significant renovations, the building will be home for all early childhood programming, Cherry Health Clinic, central administrative services, North Kent Community enrichment (formerly Parks and Rec), and other community-centered programs.

Cedar Springs Middle School: “Cedar Springs Middle School, opened in 2004, requires little from the bond proposal. The Middle School would be the new home for our 6th and 7th graders. Students in these two grades are very compatible socially and academically. Plans include a reconfiguration of existing drives and designated parking areas to improve traffic flow on the site.”

New 8th and 9th building: “The most innovative part of the bond proposal is the plan to construct a new 8th and 9th grade building adjacent to the high school. Our 9th graders would still be considered high school students. Many of them would likely have classes in both buildings depending on their schedule. This approach to creating a 600 student learning community for our 8th and 9th graders will provide a more age-appropriate transition from the Middle School to the High School.”

High school: “The 8th and 9th grade building would eliminate the need to build additional classrooms and to increase the size of the food service area at the High School. It also provides needed space to add new career/college readiness programs for students in grades 8 through 12.”  

Hilltop Administration: “The District does not currently have a plan for Hilltop Administration Building. It will continue to be creative in its efforts to find a cost-effective solution for that building that adds value to the District and the community.” 

Do you have questions about the bond proposal? Visit csredhawks.org for more information or call Superintendent Scott Smith at 696-1204. He’s happy to answer your questions.

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Board of Education fills short-term vacancy


The Cedar Springs Board of Education held a special meeting Monday evening, December 10, and filled a 21-day vacancy on the board that was a result of an unexpired term. 

Trent Gilmore had been in the seat, but when he won the election, he moved to Jeff Rivard’s seat. Rivard won Gilmore’s seat, but wasn’t scheduled to take the oath of office until January, due to the laws surrounding appointed and elected seats. This created a 21-day vacancy.

Only one person submitted a letter of interest to the school in being appointed to the seat—Jeff Rivard. The board approved the appointment and he was sworn in at the meeting Monday evening.

Both Traci Slager and Trent Gilmore were also sworn in at Monday’s meeting. Mistie Bowser will take the oath of office in January when Matt McConnon’s term is up.

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School board needs to fill short-term vacancy


By Judy Reed

Do you want to be on the Cedar Springs Board of Education? Now that certified election results are back, they have an open seat to fill for a term of only 21 days. 

They will be accepting applications for the vacancy until noon on December 10. If it’s decided they need to do interviews, you will be contacted no later than 4 p.m. that day, and the interviews would take place that evening at 6:45 p.m. For more info please click here.

So why is there an opening for only 21 days—December 10 through December 31?

According to Superintendent Scott Smith, it’s because of the way the law is written regarding appointed and elected positions. 

Two seats were up for election this year: seat #5 and seat #6. The people who won those seats will start their terms in January. Mistie Bowser and Jeff Rivard won those four-year terms.

The other two seats voted on were #2 and #7. Those were appointed seats, where someone left this year but their term was not up at the end of this year and the person appointed had to run for the seat again in November. The people who won those seats (Tracie Slager and Trent Gilmore) will start serving immediately since the term was not up.

Traci Slager was appointed in early 2018 to seat #2 to replace Ted Sabinas, and after winning seat #2 in the November election, she will serve out the remaining four years. She will take office immediately since the term was not up.

Mistie Bowser was elected to seat #5. Matt McConnon has been serving in that seat. He was appointed to fill that seat when Patricia Eary resigned. The term was up at the end of this year. McConnon did not run for it because he wanted to run for Courtland Township Supervisor. Mistie Bowser ran for the position and she will serve a four-year term starting in January.

Here is where it gets tricky. Jeff Rivard and Trent Gilmore did not run for the seats they were serving in. They ran for each other’s seats. One was an appointed seat where the term was not up, and the other was one due for election this year.

Jeff Rivard was appointed earlier this year to seat #7 to replace Tim Bauer, who had been appointed to replace Michelle Bayink, whose term was not up until 2020. When Rivard ran for election, however, he ran for seat #6, because the term on that seat was up. He will start serving a four-year term in that seat in January. 

Trent Gilmore was appointed this summer to seat #6 to replace Brook Nichols. Her term was to be over Dec. 31. When Gilmore ran for election, he actually ran for seat #7, the one currently held by Rivard, which is an appointed seat. So, Gilmore will take office immediately, and serve the final two years of the term for seat #7. Which means seat #6, won by Rivard, will be open because Rivard won’t begin to serve until January.

The remaining board members’ seats won’t be up for election until 2020 (Matthew Shoffner and Shannon Vanderhyde) and 2022 (Heidi Reed).

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, NewsComments Off on School board needs to fill short-term vacancy

Results of Board of Education write-in vote


By Judy Reed

The Post reported on the winners of the Board of Education vote after election day, but the results for a partial term were unknown at the time due to all of the candidates being write in votes. The results were finally in as of Monday, November 19, according to Gerrid Uzarski, Elections Director of Kent County.

For the partial term ending in 2020, current appointee Trent Gilmore won with 242 votes. Paul Stark received 125 votes, and Rachel Van Horn received 42. 

Gilmore was appointed in September to replace former trustee Brook Nichols when she resigned and moved out of the area. He will now be able to finish out the rest of her term. 

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Local election results


By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs and Sand Lake will both have new members on the boards, and the results of Cedar Springs Board of Education write-in votes are still unknown.

In the Cedar Springs City Council race, the two seats went to newcomer Renee Race with 558, and incumbent Pam Conley with 545. Shandell Napieralski had 304, and there were 18 write in votes. Voter turnout was 47.1%.

For the Cedar Springs Board of Education, there were four seats open, with three candidates running unopposed for three of the seats, and a two-year partial term with only write-ins running. The three unopposed candidates were Mistie Bowser (5,190 votes); Jeff Rivard (4,850 votes), and Tracie Slager (4,455 votes). Since only write-ins were running for the two-year partial term, we haven’t received those results yet. The Board of Canvassers at Kent County was due to start validating ballots at 1 p.m. Wednesday, but it could be another week before we have those results.

In Sand Lake, there were three positions open for trustee. Marcia Helton was on the ballot, and received 152 votes. There were also two others running running as write-ins, but only 37 votes were received for write-ins, so it is unknown yet who received those votes.

In the race for the 28th District Michigan senate seat, incumbent Peter MacGregor (R) won with 58.39 percent of the vote. Craig Beach (D) received 39.02 percent; and Nathan Hewer (L) received 2.6 percent.

In the race for 73rd District representative, Lynn Afendoulis (R) won with 60.11 percent of the vote, and Bill Saxton (D) received 39.89 percent.

In the race for 74th District representative, Mark Huizenga (R) won with 60.40 percent, and Meagan Carr (D) received 39.51 percent.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Local election results

BOARD OF EDUCATION


Heidi Reed –  President

Matt Shoffner – Vice President 

Traci Slager  – Secretary        

Shannon Vanderhyde – Treasurer

Trent Gilmore – Trustee

Jeff Rivard – Trustee

Matt McConnon – Trustee

2018 Meetings

October 8 & 22*

November 12, December 10

*work session

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on BOARD OF EDUCATION

Board of Education


 

2018 Meetings – August 27, September 10 & 24*, October 8 & 22*, November 12, December 10

Hilltop Community Building

Board Room – 3rd Floor

6:45 PM

*denotes work session


Dear Community Members, Staff and Students:

Welcome Back!  We are about to begin a new school year filled with hope and excitement at Cedar Springs Public Schools!  Our CSPS Brand Promise of Purpose, Potential and Pride is with us as we step out of summer refueled and ready to meet the challenges of this year.   

Purpose:  No matter what your role in the many important capacities in our school 

district; we are all an integral part of our schools being highly effective centers of learning. 

Potential:  We are grateful for our staff that is ready and prepared to pour into our students; by opening doors of wonder, understanding and information.   

Pride:   The hard work of students and staff brings pride and joy!     We look forward throughout this upcoming year for the many ways we can celebrate together student success.  

The entire Board of Education wishes everyone the best; as we welcome our students to their educational journey of 2018-2019.

Heidi Reed  

CSPS Board of Education President

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on Board of Education

Recall petitions for BOE members available


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.

 


The recall effort for the board of education members Heidi Reed, Matt Shoffner, and Shannon Vanderhyde is officially underway. The specific language refers to what I and other members of the community believe was a violation of the open meetings act, but that is merely a symptom of the larger problem. This board has repeatedly ignored stakeholder voices. They are beginning to rush into selecting a new superintendent when at least 4, if not 7 seats will be up for election in November. I believe this to be a mistake. There are calls to put in place a highly qualified interim superintendent until we have a board that will be seated more than 6 months. The board openly silenced stake holders, can anyone trust that they will listen now? There will be petitions available at the Cedar Springs Burger King community room on Saturday May 5th 1-4 pm, Tuesday May 8th 6-9 pm and Thursday May 17 from 6-9 pm. A board who will not listen to voters cannot be allowed to continue to serve.

Molly Nixon, City of Cedar Springs

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Recall petitions for BOE members available

Staff and others share reasons for wanting Superintendent to resign


By Judy Reed

Over 500 people filled the meeting room and foyer of Solon Township Hall Thursday evening to hear the personal stories of both current and former staff and board members of Cedar Springs Public Schools and how they have been affected by the policies of Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn.

Several of the speakers were in tears as they told their stories in public for the first time, despite fears of retaliation.

VanDuyn was hired to be Superintendent four years ago, but a movement within the community to get her to resign or for the board to give her a vote of no confidence has been steadily growing. An online petition has garnered just under 1,900 signatures, and paper petitions with signatures will be presented at the next Board of Education meeting on March 26.

Mary Graf, an elementary teacher for 41 years, said she has worked for seven superintendents and several principals over the years. She said there would always be change, but also there has always been mutual respect and collaboration with the administration. She remarked that now there is no collaboration, and that teachers now feel repercussions if they don’t completely agree with something or question anything. She said that happened to her last spring during a PLC on reading. There was a lot of tension in the room, and she said she tried to clarify how the teachers were feeling. The next week she received a letter from her administrator saying she had been unprofessional. Graf said her administrator had not even been in the meeting. When she met with him about it, he told her he was forced to write the letter.

Jan Wallace

Former board member Jan Wallace spoke about consultants, noting that the district had spent $300,000 over 15 months. “Do you wonder why our district has to consult outside experts so often?” she asked. Wallace added that $115,000 of that was spent on the Orange Frog program, “which teaches the staff to learn to be happier.” She felt they could have used that money on the deteriorating roads on campus. 

Wallace explained that when she was on the board, they looked at privatizing busing, and met with the staff to talk about it. “This board didn’t do that. They had a consultant come in to help,” she said.

Former board member Ted Sabinas talked about being locked out of the meeting on privatization of transportation; the fact that once he was on the board, staff and administrators told him they were not allowed to talk to him; and that all three elementary principals, two assistant principals, and the athletic director had all left in the last three years. He also noted that the Superintendent received a 3 percent raise while the staff did not receive a raise.

Joan Boverhof

Long time teacher Joan Boverhof spoke about the relationship between the teachers and administration eroding. She said that the board, administration and teachers union used to work together as a team but that was not happening now.

Teacher Brett Burns, who also president of the teachers union, said the union has been trying to repair the relationship with the board but they aren’t listening. He likened it to a child coming to him and saying he was being bullied and him ignoring it, and then the same thing happening again, and him not doing anything about it. “I am begging,” he said. “We are hurting. When are you, the community, and the board going to acknowledge that we are human?”

Secretary Mary Gardner was in tears as she shared an ordeal she faced about being forced to administer shots. She steadfastly refused, as she has a fear of needles. It was something nurses used to do. She finally got a lawyer involved.

Teacher Erin Cairy spoke about taking leave just before school started. She said the administration never reached out to her. Although she emailed a letter to be sent to the students who were supposed to be in her class and their parents, it was never sent. She also emailed asking how she could help the new teacher, but that went unanswered. She said she returned this year, and many questions she’s asked about programs, such as iready, have been taken as being negative.

At one point during the meeting, moderator Todd Norman asked the group how many were hearing these stories for the first time. Almost half the room raised their hand.

Teacher Libby Metiva said that the board of ed has said things that have wounded, but they have also been manipulated. “How can we help them? All of you are influencers. I’m asking all of you to help empower and influence the board members to take back Cedar Springs.”

Superintendent VanDuyn gave the Post a statement about the petition. 

“As superintendent, it is my promise to the community to make the best decisions I can to ensure our students have an exceptional educational experience while keeping our district financially stable. Our students should have a top notch school system to develop and grow. I am saddened by this petition as I am fully committed to making CSPS the best place it can be. My daily motivation and priority continues to be serving the students and families of CSPS.”  

To watch the entire video of the community meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68xfuX_Ulsw&feature=youtu.be

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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.”

Posted in Featured, News, SportsComments Off on New sports turf installed at Red Hawk Stadium

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