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Tag Archive | "Board of Education"

School board hires new superintendent

red hawkBy Judy Reed

Associate Superintendent David Cairy received a standing ovation from 200 staff members, parents, and community members after his final interview Wednesday evening, but he didn’t get the votes from the Board of Education.

Instead, they voted 5-2 to hire Dr. Laura VanDuyne, a candidate from California, who has ties to the area and was looking to move back to Michigan. She has served as Executive Director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority since 2010.

The decision angered and saddened many who were present for the interviews.

Trustees Shannon Vanderhyde and Jeff Gust were the two dissenting votes.

The board had the public fill out feedback forms after the interviews and turn them in, and the board sifted through them during recess. They then took a straw poll to see where they stood.

Vanderhyde said that she was saddened by the direction the board seemed to be moving in. She said that one of the comments on the feedback form stuck with her, that Laura would have a big learning curve. “I don’t want my three kids to have a big learning curve,” she said. “I want them to have the best of the best. With Dave, we can start tomorrow.”

Trustee Todd Hanson said he didn’t think there would be a huge learning curve, noting that staff would still be there doing a great job. “And if not, then maybe they are not as loyal as they say,” he remarked.

The remark brought a big boo from the crowd, and several people walked out.

Vanderhyde questioned why they bothered to get the feedback if they weren’t going to use it.

Trustee Joe Marckini said he must’ve gotten different feedback than Shannon, and that he was out talking to people. And if people didn’t like his decision, they could recall him.

Trustee Patricia Eary thought an outsider would bring a fresh perspective. President Brooke Nichols said she had a gut feeling about Van Duyne the first time she interviewed.

Those who voted for Van Duyne—President Brooke Nichols, Todd Hanson, Patricia Eary, Matt Shoffner, and Joe Marckini—all had good things to say about Cairy, but seemed to feel that Van Duyne had the skills to move the district forward.

Shoffner remarked that he felt the two of them working together—Van Duyne a global thinker and Cairy a detailed thinker—would make a good team.

After the official vote, the silence in the room was deafening. Trustee Shannon VanderHyde dissolved into tears.

Some members approached the board and thanked them for their work, while others left the room or talked quietly among themselves.

A committee will work on contract negotiations with Van Duyne, and then bring that back to the board for approval.



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Superintendent announces retirement

Superintendent Ron McDermed

Superintendent Ron McDermed

As you may be aware, our Superintendent Ron McDermed, has announced that he is retiring at the end of this school year. We are grateful to him for his many years of service to the education community and are sad to see him go.

As we begin the process of hiring a new Superintendent, we would like to have input from staff, parents and community members to see what they value in that leadership role. Feel free to attend upcoming Board of Education meetings or e-mail any board member with your thoughts.

Thank you! 

Brook Nichols, School Board President

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Board of Education 2013—2014


Brook Nichols—President

Joe Marckini—Vice President

Todd Hanson—Secretary

Matthew Shoffner—Treasurer

Jeff Gust—Trustee

Shannon Vanderhyde—Trustee

Patricia Eary—Trustee


Board of Education Meeting Dates

Board of Education meetings are open to the public and will be held at 6:45 p.m. in the Board Room of the Hilltop Community Resource Center (third floor) unless otherwise specified.

August 26   Work Session

September 9, 23

October 14

October 28   Work Session

November 11, 25

December 9

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Fine Arts Night

Fine Arts Night @ CSHS Auditorium

Tuesday, April 23 6:30pm – 8:00


Come check out all the visual art displays, and performances by the choirs, band and drama students


Early Release Day – April 26 & May 10

Board of Education Regular Meeting – May 13

New Beginnings Graduation Ceremony – May 23
@ Red Hawk Elementary 7:00pm

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Upcoming Dates

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School elections to be held in November

Board members’ terms extended to 6 years

The Cedar Springs Board of Education approved changes in their board policy last week that brings them in compliance with a new state law regarding when elections are held. They also extended the number of years board members will serve to six years.

Under the new Michigan state law, school districts must hold elections during the general elections in November of even-numbered years beginning January 1, 2012. Board elections have previously been held in May of each of year.

“Utilizing a standard election cycle will cut administrative costs and help schools maintain focus on educating students,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “This change allows for more consolidated elections so voters have the best opportunity to make their voices heard.”

It will also be a cost savings for districts. In the past, school districts were billed by the municipalities for holding the election. But, according to Cedar Springs City Clerk Linda Branyan, that should no longer be the case. “It’s my understanding that if an election is already being held (in this case a general election), then the municipality absorbs the cost,” she explained. “The only exception would be if something special had to be purchased for the election.”

Since 2004, districts have had the option of conducting school board elections during the odd-year general election, the odd-year May regular election, the November regular election in odd and even years, or the May regular election in even and odd years.

Under the new law, a board member’s term would begin January 1 following the election. To make that happen, Cedar Springs needed to vote to extend current members’ terms from June 30 to December 31. And because elections will only be held every two years, some board members will receive an extension of six months and others a year and a half. Tim Avery and Brook Nichols terms will now expire Dec. 31, 2012 instead of June 30; Matt Shoffner, Shannon Vanderhyde and Todd Hanson’s terms will expire Dec. 31, 2014. Hanson’s was set to expire in 2013.  Jeff Gust and Joseph Marckini’s terms were set to expire in June 2015, but will now expire December 31, 2016.

Besides amending their policy to change election dates, Cedar Springs Board of Education also voted to change future board members’ terms to 6 years, to avoid a 4-3 member rotation schedule. If they kept it at 4 years, 4 people would be up for reelection in 2016 and 3 people in 2018. A six-year schedule means only 2 or 3 people would be up for reelection at a time.

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Protecting Our Investment…Securing Our Future

Cedar Springs Public Schools has implemented millions of dollars in budget cuts over the last decade.

State funding for education has forced continued spending cuts and is forcing choice between quality education and maintaining roads and facilities. The district placed priority on keeping cuts as far from the classroom as possible.  As a result, school infrastructure needs were deferred.  Without an alternative source of funding, the Board of Education would be forced to divert funding from classrooms to cover school infrastructure needs.  Additional budget cuts, increased class size, and/or depletion of fund balance may be necessary.

An Advisory Committee consisting of parents, staff, and community members worked together to determine a long range plan for facilities and infrastructure of Cedar Springs Public Schools by identifying the needs of the district.   The priorities included: security modifications, technology infrastructure, repaving parking lots and roads, increased parking at Cedar Trails, Beach, and High School, replacement of Gym Floors at Beach and Cedar View Elementary, energy efficient boilers, and many others.

Identified facility needs can not be met within current general fund expenditures without significant budget adjustments.  The Advisory Committee recommended the pursuit of a one mill sinking fund to support infrastructure needs.  The February 28, 2012 election will include a ballot proposal to secure a short-term, dedicated stream of funding for basic school improvement projects for Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Sinking funds, unlike traditional tax bonds, generate a fixed amount of funds over the period of the tax and incur no interest.  A one mill assessment for an owner of a $100,000 home would be fifty (50) dollars a year.  Sinking funds can be used for remodeling or repairing facilities, improving sites, structures, athletic facilities, playgrounds, or other facilities; and technology infrastructure.  School districts are not allowed to use funds from a sinking fund for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries.

The Sinking Fund would ensure funding remains in classrooms for learning, teaching, books, and technology, provide students with basic necessity of a warm, safe and dry learning environment, create efficiencies and long-term financial savings, create jobs and support of local businesses.  The Sinking Fund is the means by which the District can protect the community’s investment used by our students, staff, parents, and community.




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Welcome to the 2011-12 School Year

As a school district, we are eager to begin a new year. Our district is known throughout the Region and State for our excellence and innovation. We have garnered this attention and success through clear focus on a single goal and vision of “improving student achievement through exemplary teaching.”
As a district, our Board of Education and community realize our work must always place kids first.  Learning happens in the classroom and we have worked hard to develop systems and standards that support teachers to become the very best they can be for kids.
Thank you for your continued support of our efforts. Working together parents, students, teachers, staff and community, we are making a difference in the lives of our students.  We appreciate your support and look forward to a great school year.

Ron McDermed, Superintendent
Cedar Springs Public Schools

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2011-12 CSPS Board of Education

MEETING DATES: Board of Education meetings are open to the public and will be held at 6:45 p.m. in the Board Room of the Hilltop Community Resource Center (third floor) unless otherwise specified.


July 11
August 8
*August 22  Work Session
September 12
September 26
October 10
*October 24 Work Session
November 14
November 28
December 12


January 9

January 23

February 13

*February 27  Work Session

March 12

March 26

April 9

*April 23 Work Session

May 14

May 28

June 11

June 25

July 9

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Board of Ed votes on officers

Re-elected trustee, Jeff Gust, being sworn in.

17th Circuit Court Judge Christopher Yates swore in Vice-president Joe Marckini

The Cedar Springs Board of Education started their new school year Monday, July 11, by swearing in the recently elected board members and selecting this year’s officers.

President of the 2011-12 board is Brooke Nichols; Vice-president is Joe Marckini; Secretary is Tim Avery; and Treasurer is Todd Hanson.

17th Circuit Court Judge Christopher Yates swore in Joe Marckini and Jeff Gust, both incumbents who were reelected in May. Marckini, formerly board president, invited him to do the honors.

The board also had further discussion on athletics and the drop in participants. They clarified that athletics supervisor Autumn Mattson did not make the decision on her own about which sports would not receive funding, but that it was made jointly by Mattson, Superintendent Ron McDermed and Assistant Superintendent David Cairy. They also noted that a lot of parents called letting them know they had their support. They said they would be looking into things they could do to bolster participation.

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