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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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Residents to vote on GRCC bond proposal Tuesday


Residents across Kent County will go to the polls Tuesday, May 8, to vote on whether to approve a $98,600,000 bond proposal for Grand Rapids Community College.

The proposal is for purchasing, remodeling, renovating, and constructing buildings to be used for the college (including the fieldhouse and other facilities); renovations of sites, and acquiring and installing technology infrastructure.

They propose the millage to be .38 mills per thousand for 2012, and will go no longer than 20 years. For someone owning a $100,000 home, that would be about $19 per year. They would capture $274,000 the first year.

Polls open at 8 a.m.

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